Taken from the intimation sheet: 16 February 2014
As I write it’s the morning of Valentine’s Day and I’ve just stumbled upon a devotional by Paul David Trip entitled ‘What is Love?’ 2000 years ago, another Paul reminded the Corinthian Church of the beauty and priority of love with these words:
1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
(1 Corinthians 13:1-7)
If we’re Christians, then we can’t claim we’ve not known this love Paul speaks of, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (Jn 15:13) No matter what happens to us; no matter what we face, or how we feel, nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Rom 8). And so we are called, mindful of the love that we have received, to love others. What does this life of love look like?
Maybe one or two of Paul Tripp’s statements will leap out at you and offer you not only food for thought, but cause for prayer and action this week:
What is Love?
1. LOVE IS… being willing to have your life complicated by the needs and struggles of others without impatience or anger.
2. LOVE IS… actively fighting the temptation to be critical and judgmental toward another while looking for ways to encourage and praise.
3. LOVE IS… making a daily commitment to resist the needless moments of conflict that come from pointing out and responding to minor offenses.
4. LOVE IS… being lovingly honest and humbly approachable in times of misunderstanding.
5. LOVE IS… being more committed to unity and understanding than you are to winning, accusing, or being right.
6. LOVE IS… making a daily commitment to admit your sin, weakness, and failure and to resist the temptation to offer an excuse or shift the blame.
7. LOVE IS… being willing, when confronted by another, to examine your heart rather than rising to your defence or shifting the focus.
8. LOVE IS… making a daily commitment to grow in love so that the love you offer to another is increasingly selfless, mature, and patient.
9. LOVE IS… being unwilling to do what is wrong when you have been wronged, but looking for concrete and specific ways to overcome evil with good.
10. LOVE IS… being a good student of another, looking for their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs so that in some way you can remove the burden, support them as they carry it, or encourage them along the way.
11. LOVE IS… being willing to invest the time necessary to discuss, examine, and understand the relational problems you face, staying on task until the problem is removed or you have agreed upon a strategy of response.
12. LOVE IS… being willing to always ask for forgiveness and always being committed to grant forgiveness when it is requested.
Yours in His service