Have you ever noticed how people who are compassionate, understanding and forgiving seem to have a certain way of diffusing crises, teaching effectively, and helping people feel good about themselves? This ability can be summed up in one word, “Love.”
Without love, our efforts to connect and relate to others is nothing more than clanging cymbals. Perhaps this is why the apostle Paul starts the love chapter in 1 Corinthians 13 with “And yet, I will show you the most excellent way. Because without love, we can accomplish nothing.”
Paul goes on to explain the kind of love God extends to us: “Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily-angered, it keeps no record of wrong. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
When received, this kind of affection cannot be bottled up. The love of God transforms us and flows through us to those around us. In these verses, Paul is describing what it truly means to be a Christian. In fact, what Paul is doing here is helping us get a better understanding of Jesus’ new command.
On the night he was betrayed he shared with his disciples, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
When God calls us unto himself, he is calling us into a relationship where we can experience this unconditional love.
And here is the good news. He doesn’t just offer this to some. He offers a relationship of love to all. He will never force us to accept the offer; he gives us the freedom to live outside of that relationship. But, when we do accept, we can know the One who loves us is patient, is kind, and does not hold our wrongs against us.
God the Father sent his one and only Son to show how much he loves us. Only Jesus can teach us about God’s love because, as God’s eternal Son, he alone knows the Father in person and for all time (Matthew 11:27). By his words and actions, recorded for us in the Bible, Jesus teaches that God is our loving Father and we are his beloved children.
Jesus not only proclaimed that good news (the gospel), he is that good news for all people, and you are included. May you receive the love that God is extending to you today. His love that never fails.
Kathy Houston of White Hall is pastor of Christian Fellowship Center of Grace Communion International Pine Bluff.
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