Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | December 2, 2011

Love’s Life Lessons, Part 1 by David Bower

Love is the Greatest!

We are told in I Corinthians 13:13 about the superiority of love: “And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” Most of us can acknowledge the important place love has in our lives.

The search for love has been featured in almost every way one can imagine; poems, songs, and stories, are only a starting point should we try to enumerate the many ways we have endeavored to express our interest in, and longing for the opportunity to love and be loved in return.

I’ve mentioned before the multiple uses the English language has for the word love. Greek, on the other hand, has four distinct words for love, two of which are more frequently used in the New Testament; brotherly love and the special New Testament usage of agape love.  

How appropriate that the Bible should contain what is called the love chapter, I Corinthians 13. In this chapter God defines agape love, the particular kind of love He expects His children to manifest; a love which in the King James Version was translated charity.

In verses 4 – 7 of this chapter Paul lists the characteristics of this love; they are probably better described to contemporary readers by the word charity than the word love. Since I have previously pointed out the distinctive nature of this word I will only mention again the thought that this love is attitudinal rather than emotional. We manifest this love by displaying a charitable, benevolent attitude toward others rather than the hopeless effort of trying to generate a positive emotional response toward everyone else.

God Loves His Children

God loves His children and expects His children to love Him in return. In Matthew 22:37-38 Jesus tells a lawyer: “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord, thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.”

We, as God’s children, are granted the wondrous privilege of loving in return the one who loved us and gave himself for us. God’s love was manifested toward us by the death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross when we were lost in sin and very unlovely.

Jesus concluded by saying: “And the second is like it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22:39-40.

As We Love Ourselves

I suspect we have all had times when we didn’t even like ourselves; we have weighed ourselves in the balance and found ourselves wanting. Acts of omission or commission have haunted us like a specter and left us feeling very unworthy.

As God’s children we have the privilege of confessing our sins to God and receiving His forgiveness, I John 1:9, but it may be harder for us to forgive ourselves. It’s too easy to remember the mistakes we have made and feel flooded with disappointment that we could have ever been so foolish.

Even at times like this we put up with ourselves until the process of mental healing can take place; we allow ourselves some slack and realize that some things just take time to heal. We patiently endure with ourselves even though we may dislike what has happened; we give ourselves the benefit of the doubt and try to move on with our lives; we try and put on a brave front so others don’t realize the depth of our dismay. This is the way we love ourselves and the way we should love others, with a charitable, benevolent attitude as described in I Corinthians 13:4-7.

In Part 2 I will mention some ways in which life’s lessons in love can teach us about God’s love for us.


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