In all my years of ministry I’ve taught on, literally, hundreds of Bible chapters and verses. And at the same time there are still hundreds more that I haven’t made it to yet. Only recently I taught on the entire 13th chapter of 1st Corinthians. I’ve referenced and referred to it a hundred times or more….but never before have I taught exclusively on Chapter 13 until recently. Most everyone knows that chapter. It’s referred to by many as “The Love Chapter”, which is an accurately ‘fitting’ name. It gives the characteristics of love….not just any love and not a superficial love by any means. Nope, the kind of love Paul is talking about is ‘agape’, or unconditional…it’s the highest quality of love that exists. It’s the kind of love that the Father has for us and the exact kind of love that He is desperately seeking to produce in us. …..And if you’ll look at the characteristics of ‘love’ described there you’ll find that it describes Jesus (Who is the express image of the Father!) to a “T”!
If my count is correct there are 16 traits of ‘agape’ listed in the chapter. It would be productive for anyone to look at those 16 in depth and see how you’re doing in the ‘process’ of being conformed into the image of Jesus. After all….it’s our heart that He wants to conform to be like Him. And this ‘love’ thing….well, it’s the gauge!
One of the characteristics of love, and the 7th on the list, is “Love does not seek it’s own”. And while I don’t claim to have the full understanding of that I do think I have a little insight. One of the incredible attributes of God, the Father, is that he loves extravagantly and expects nothing in return! I’m sure that you might have some reservations about that….but think about it for a minute. If we give love just so we can get it in return…..it’s not really agape. It’s love with a ‘hook’ to it! Loving with a ‘hook’ pollutes the ‘real thing’!
“For God so loved the world that He GAVE….” Love gives……and expects absolutely nothing in return! Of course….it is nice to get love back in proportion. That’s just the icing on the cake!
“God’s love is perfect……but it’s not ‘perfected’ until we ‘choose’ to love Him back!” – AT
Make no mistake about it…..Love Gives!!