“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 wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8a (NIV).
This is one of the most popular passages from the Bible. Why? It talks about love, so it is widely used in sermons, weddings, etc. I’ve seen people use it as a tribute to loved ones by replacing the word “love” with the person’s name, to show they carry the attributes of love.
I’ve also seen it used to explain God’s character, to explain how God is love–also simply by replacing “love” with “God”. I think that is wonderful because God IS love, and this example does help us see many aspects of God’s character. Some of the same characteristics in the passage above are also outlined as fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23.
But here is what God has impressed upon me this week: What if I inserted my own name instead of the word “love”? How would I measure up against the characteristics of God and love?
So many times we compare ourselves to other people. When, in reality, we should only be comparing ourselves to Jesus and His traits.
So, with God being love itself–how do we stand when we look at ourselves in this mirror? I must say, I don’t like the reflection that stares back at me. The outcome and the reality of my character opened my eyes when I replace the word “love” with “Chrissy”.
“Chrissy is patient.” No…not so much….but I’m trying. I’m better about it than I used to be, but not nearly as patient as I should be.
“Chrissy is kind.” I would love to think this is true all the time. However, I have to be brutally honest with myself and with you readers. I have too many moments where kindness is the last thought or action my list. This is sobering.
“Chrissy does not envy.” Ha!! (I really have to work on that one!) I think we are all guilty of this, whether we realize it or not. We might compliment someone’s new car, while in the back of our minds we’re thinking, “I wish I could afford a car like that”….just as an example.
“Chrissy does not boast.” I try not to, but let’s be real here…I’m human. We all are. We like to hear “Way to go!” or “You’re awesome!” so we boast about things we’ve done, when we should really be giving God the glory for giving us the ability, power, strength, etc. to accomplish whatever task, feat or event that He placed in our paths. Yes, I’ve done my share of boasting on myself, rather than the Lord.
“Chrissy is not proud.” Another big HA! I’m not proud…of myself when I realize how much pride plays into my everyday life. Another one to work on.
“Chrissy does not dishonor others”. This one really hit me hard as I realized that I have dishonored others in my complaining, idle talk and only God knows how many other ways. I think if we are all really honest with ourselves, we would all find that that we are all guilty of this at some point. Speech is not the only way we dishonor others…its just what God placed in my spirit. May God forgive us for dishonoring ourselves and His other children! Proverbs 18:21..The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. James 3:5..Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. “
“Chrissy is not self-seeking.” oh no….I have been so guilty of this. That’s all I’m going to say on that. I’m guilty and I am working on changing that. Help me, Lord!
“Chrissy is not easily angered.” This is the biggest HA! of them all. Though I am very conscious of having a short fuse, I slip up. I do try to control my anger…I just don’t always succeed. Ephesians 4:26…In your anger, do not sin: do not let the sun go down while you are still angry. Proverbs 15:1…A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
“Chrissy keeps no record of wrongs.” I wish I could say that this is true, but most of my issues today are from “keeping record of wrongs” from DECADES ago. My prayer for this is that the Lord will help me let go! Proverbs 19:11…A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.
“Chrissy does not delight in evil, but rejoices in truth.” With this one, I’m not as distraught as the others. I don’t delight in evil. Though as we’ve seen from the previous statements, I have not always stayed away from it. I think most of us fall into the traps without even realizing it at the time. I do rejoice in the Truth of God and His Word. However, I obviously need to live it more in my daily life. We can all benefit from doing that!
“Chrissy always protects.” Take out the word “always” and I might be okay. I could do more to protect others. We all could.
“Chrissy always trusts.” I try, but again, that word “always” is the stumbler.
“Chrissy always hopes.” Most of the time I hope, but lots of times I get weary and down. Sometimes I fall into the trap of allowing my hope to be dashed by my circumstances. However, this is not from God. It is an attack of the enemy on our spirits. 2 Timothy 1:7…for God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Jeremiah 29:11…For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
“Chrissy always perseveres.” I do try to keep going when the going gets tough. I might stumble for a bit, but God is faithful to light my way. He helps me to get back on my feet and keep moving forward.
“Chrissy never fails.” Well….we know by now that this just is not true. However, we have a loving, forgiving God. He sent Jesus as a sacrifice for our sins and our failures, so that we could be forgiven and live in victory. He sent the Holy Spirit to comfort, teach and guide us so that we don’t get lost in our failures. Our God always sees the best in us and will show us how to achieve it if we just allow Him to do that.
Wow! Reading this, it could seem quite negative and dismal or depressing, right? I mean…look at all the ways I mess up daily. However, Praise God that His mercy is new each morning and endures forever! The hopeful, persevering Chrissy is deciding to be positive about it and learn from these realizations! Even though I’ve messed up plenty, I (and we) can overcome!
We can stand on the promise of God’s forgiveness. Psalm 32:1…Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Psalm 86:5…For thou, Lord art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee. I John 1:9…If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
He gives us new mercy every day. Lamentations 3:22-23…It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
We can stand on the promise of His great love for us. John 3:16-17…For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world, through him, might be saved.
We can know that the Lord has plans for us. Jeremiah 29:11…”For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Philippians 1:6…being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
He gives us the power to be strong and to think clearly. 2 Timothy 1:7…For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love and of a sound mind.
We can love others. Philippians 4:13…I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Matthew 22:37-39…Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all they mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. John 13:34-35…A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if you have love one to another.
We can use this exercise to remind us of the things love does and does not do…and we, also, can be love to others. We just have to allow the Holy Spirit to work in and through us to make us more like Jesus.
One day…1st Corinthians 13:4-8 will be perfected in each of us by the power of God…if we allow it and submit to it.
I pray that you are blessed by God today.
“Father God, help us to remember the traits of your love as outlined in 1st Corinthians 3. Fill us Lord, with that love, patience, kindness, forgiveness, temperance and more…so much so that it overflows to others…giving hope and changing lives by Your Power and for Your Kingdom. And Father, when we mess up, forget or inadvertently do not act in a loving way, we ask that You forgive us. Show us our missteps and get us back on Your path. We love you Lord and give you all praise and glory for you are the Great I Am. YOU are Love. We pray in the Holy name of Jesus…Amen.