“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on it’s own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong doing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
You’ve probably heard these verses many times before. 1 Corinthians is known as the “love chapter” (my Bible titles it The Way of Love) and it is often read at weddings. However, placed in its context, Paul is speaking these words to the Christian community and it follows a description of spiritual gifts.
It is certainly good advice about how to behave towards our spouse, but it is much more than that. These verses tell us how we should behave as part of the church. Love is the “greatest” gift and the one that will remain when all our works have ceased. Love is not just what we do, it is who we are. Notice that love also encompasses the fruit of the spirit: patience, kindness, self-control, joy.
Paul goes on to tell the Corinthians at the end of chapter 13 and in chapter 14 that love is an indication of spiritual maturity. He advises us to put away childish things (13:11) and be mature in our thinking (14: 20).
So “pursue love” (14:1) and “strive to excel in building up the church.”(14:12). The fruit of the spirit will follow and will be a blessing to you and to others.
God loves you and so do I!