Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Love Chapter, 21st Century Version

Love. It’s not just for Valentine’s Day, marriage engagements, and weddings…
A Paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8,
One of the Bible's Most Famous Passages

If I talk about the hypostatic union of the second person of the Trinitarian Godhead, and can exegetically analyze the word “propitiation” in the original Greek, but fail to ask about your needs and truly help you, I’m simply making a lot of empty religious noise.

If I graduate from a big-name theological seminary summa cum laude and know all the answers to questions you’ll never even think of asking, and if I have all the degrees to prove it…and if I say I believe in God with all my heart, and soul, and strength, and mind, and have incredible answers to my prayers to prove it, but fail to take the time to find out where you’re at and what makes you laugh and why you cry, I’m a big fat zero.

If I sell an extra car and some of my books to raise money for poor starving kids, and if I give my life for God’s service and burn out after pouring everything I have into the work, but do it all without ever once thinking about the people, the real hurting people—lonely and depressed and orphans and widows and divorced and singles and second moms and stepdads and adopted sons and foster daughters—if I pour my life into the Kingdom but forget to make it relevant to those here on earth, my energy is wasted, and so is my life.

Here is what love is like…genuine love. God’s kind of love. It’s patient. It can wait. It helps others, even if they never find out who did it. Love doesn’t look for greener pastures or dream of how things could be better if I just got rid of all my current commitments. Love doesn’t boast. It doesn’t try to build itself up to be something it isn’t.

Love doesn’t act in a loose, immoral way. It doesn’t seek to take, but it willingly gives. Love doesn’t lose its cool. It doesn’t turn on and off. Love doesn’t think about how bad the other person is, and certainly doesn’t think of how it could get back at someone. Love is grieved deeply (as God is) over sin, but rejoices over truth. It gets excited when God’s Word is read, and learned, and believed, and lived.

Love comes and sits with you when you’re feeling down, and finds out what is wrong. It truly feels with you and believes in you. Love knows you’ll come through just as God planned, and love sticks right beside you all the way. Love doesn’t give up, or quit, or diminish, or go home. Love keeps on keeping on, even when everything goes wrong and the feelings leave and the other person doesn’t seem as special anymore. Love succeeds 100 percent of the time. That, my friend, is what real love is!

Copyright © 2017 David Sanford. David’s book and Bible projects have been published by Doubleday, Thomas Nelson, Tyndale, and Zondervan. Reprint permission is granted for free distribution of this article within places of worship and education, and within public websites and blogs, if this full credit is included. For other uses, please contact the author here.