Good morning everyone. As I stated yesterday we are looking at 1 Corinthians 13 in bite-size morsels. Yesterday we considered that the things we do are a complete waste of time and effort without love as our motivation. Some of you may consider this fact obvious but stop for a moment and consider how many things you have done out of habit or the mechanics of life, not love. What do I mean?
Why do we do the things we do? Why does a mom clean the house? If it is not because she loves her family and wants to honour God because of her love for him she will soon grow to resent it. You can take that and apply it to everything. Why do people start resenting their jobs? Lack of love. It doesn't matter if the boss does not love back. The fact is if you are feeling resentful at work its because you have failed to love your boss and God. So what does this love look like?
Paul has given us a great description taken from the character of Jesus. This is perfect love which we do not yet possess but it does give us perfection to measure ourselves against:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, 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. vv, 4-7
I often tell people I can't get past the first word, patient. We are obliged to follow the Ten Commandments which Jesus summed up in two; love God with your entire being and love your neighbour as yourself. Look at this description of love. Now consider whether you have loved God like this. What about everyone else in your life?
Let's go no further than our families. Are we always patient with our spouse and our children? What about kind? Kindness is not always easy when you are tired and you feel people are nagging at you. Sometimes the words that come out of our mouths and the actions we take would be the opposite of what we would consider kind.
Perhaps the next three do not apply to our families, I hope not; envy, boasting and pride but what about the next three. How often are we rude with our spouse and children? That is a hard one for me because when I start getting overwhemed with things I tend to ignore people while I am processing. As a single parent now I especially find this difficult. There used to be certain activities that were my private thinking time such as in the shower or mowing the lawn. Now it seems that when I step into the shower there is a line up of people at the door yelling their questions through that door and into my shower. The same with mowing the lawn. It makes it hard to mow when I have to keep turning off the mower every 30 seconds. But love states that I must be patient and kind and not rude with my children.
Self-seeking is also an ugly thing in a parent as is anger and a lack of forgiveness. Those things are killers in any relationship because it demonstrates a lack of the right type of love. There is the whole hating of evil and delighting in truth, which is sometimes hard to handle correctly when your son truthfully tells you he just smashed your car. However it is the final ones that describe a love that we are all looking for: "It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."
Do we not want someone in our life who will protect us, who we can trust, who always hopes the best for us, who never gives up on us? Well we do have that someone; his name is Jesus. Just as importantly this is who he wants us to be in the lives of our family, our boss, our co-workers, our neighbours and our brothers and sisters in Christ.
However, do not feel down because you fail in this. We all fail in this. We can't judge others because they fail at this toward us because we also are failing in it with everyone in our lives. We need to consider with our own heart and leave God to take care of the others hearts. Realize where you are failing and take it to Jesus. Ask him for more love. Confess and surrender your weaknesses and failings to him. Submit yourself to his discipline and understand that you are growing, maturing and increasing in love. This chapter tells us how far we have to go.
So, do not be afraid today to love. Do not do anything today without it. Allow it to transform your attitude toward your boss, your neighbour, your spouse, your children. Let me finish with this thought. In the verses we looked at yesterday Paul stated there are two results of doing things without the motivation of love: ... but have not love, I am nothing; ... but have not love, I gain nothing. Am nothing, gain nothing; do not let your day be summed up like that. Be somebody today; gain something today.