Posts Tagged 1 Corinthians 13: 4 – 7

Choice Fruit

Galatians 5: 22 – 23

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

This is the companion verse for 1 Corinthians 13. I am not going to go through them one by one like we did for 1 Corinthians 13 because many of them are the same. These two verses list the personality traits of the Holy Spirit, or the Spirit of God. These are the characteristics of God’s Spirit, so where the Spirit of God is, you will see this fruit demonstrated.

Compare these traits with what we learned of God’s essence in 1 Corinthians 13: 4 – 7, “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” There is that kindness again. These two passages of scripture describe God. They are a description of His behavior pattern.

There is another facet of this verse though. The Holy Spirit has come to live in us. That means that we can also express these characteristics through our thoughts, words and behaviors. We are integrated with the Divine Trinity. They are part of us and we are part of them. Their characteristics are our characteristics but only as much as we will allow ourselves to be influenced by them. If we act from our old nature then we have separated ourselves from Christ. To be in him, though, is to be part of all that he is. As we allow ourselves that closeness with him, allowing him to influence every part of our lives, we become more like him and express more of his nature. You have heard it said that you become like who you hang out with so as we hangout more and more with Jesus, we become more and more like him.

We are being transformed into the very image of Christ. That transformation yields good fruit. We let Christ in us show more and more. We can learn to bury the old self and leave it buried, taking up our new life in Christ. And, wherever there is Christ, you will find these choice fruits. Conversely, no fruit – no Christ. Don’t be misled by what people say. Instead, check the fruit on their tree. What is inside of us always makes its way to the outside.

God . . . endures

1 Corinthians 13: 4 – 7

Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love is not a sissy. It is strong and tough. I am reminded of the old Timex commercial which proclaimed that a Timex watch could “take a licking and keep on ticking.” Well, love is the same way. It does not falter in tough times. Love is the strongest force in the universe. Love is not a sissy and it’s not for sissies. Love has a backbone and that shows when the chips are down.

Since God is love, then He does not falter either. He endures eternally. You well know that life is not always easy. There are challenges but none of these things ever faze God or diminish His capacity to keep on loving you, believing in you and helping you. Further, no mean thing you may have ever said about God or to God can limit how much He loves you. God’s love takes a licking and keeps on ticking. It is not the casual love that blooms in spring and has run its course by winter. Whether we ever express any affection towards God, He will continue to love us forever. God even loves the person who hates Him. If there is a person in your world who denigrates God, you can look at them and know that God loves them with everything He is because He is love.

And if you know anyone who has ever shown love to anyone or anything, then He has to have a measure of God in him because God is love. Any measure of love is a measure of God. Isn’t that good news? Truly no one is lost to us. We always have hope because love never gives up, never loses hope and endures forever.

God is . . . hopeful

1 Corinthians 13: 4 – 7

Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things.

Love has an indomitable spirit. Synonyms for indomitable are: invincible, unconquerable, unbeatable, unassailable, invulnerable, unshakable, unsinkable; indefatigable and the list goes on. This is the quality of God’s staying power. Hope never dies in His heart. The flame of hope does not ever even flicker. His hope is unassailable. This hope is so strong that it very closely allies itself with faith. Love, and hence God, trusts. Our Father actually trusts us. He also knows about the effectiveness of His son and His Spirit who are at work in our lives. That alone is enough for Him to never give up hope.

The question is, is that enough for us to never give up hope. One would think it should be. If God will never stop hoping and we are intertwined with Him then maybe we can hold on to our hope even in the dark hours. That hope is really vital to our well-being. It is stronger than a wish. Hope leans forward. It has expectation in its wings. It has confidence in tomorrow, every day. No disappointment rises above hope. We may have to catch our breath at times but hope picks us up even if we fall. Hope always refocuses our eyes on the horizon, not on the ground.

Maybe yesterday was a challenge. Maybe this morning was without sunshine. Not to worry. Our God is right there in the very next breath you take and each subsequent breath. He will renew our hope and encourage us with each breath, if we allow Him. You can turn around your day in a breath. Stop. Breath. Expect God to fill you with hope and encouragement. Remind yourself of His words and wonders. Let the God of hope, the God of love restore you, right now!

God is . . . a believer

1 Corinthians 13: 4 – 7

Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things.

What does it mean that love believes all things? This seems a bit difficult to unwind but as I prayed about it I realized that lovers, real lovers are people of faith. They believe. They believe in each other and they believe in hope. Love is a positive force and those people who are good at loving tend to be positive people. Think about it for a moment and determine if that is true in your experience. People who have love in their hearts tend to see the best in situations and in people. Hope is always alive in them even when it gets a little bruised it remains as part of their steadfast resolve.

God believes in you! Now that is a statement we should all meditate on for a moment. Have you ever thought about it that way? I really had not until today but it is true. He believes in you and your potential. He believes in your dreams. He believes you are capable and He thinks you are awesome. Are some of you thinking, “Love is blind?” Well, perhaps but God’s love for you really isn’t blind. God sees into the deepest parts of you and that is why He believes in you. Sure, we mess up. We do and say some really stupid things at times but that is not our essential self. That is just the level we are at right now. God sees the real us, the one that is deep down. He sees the person you are beginning to experience.

You have been born again and believe it or not, there is a perfect you in Christ. There is no tarnish or stain. Sure God sees us stumble but we don’t hate babies when they fall in their learning to walk. We have faith. We believe they will get it. We know it just takes time and practice and then not only will they walk but we will watch them run. God sees you running in His mind’s eye. He knows you will get there and He is already proud of you. He believes in you because love believes all things.

God . . . bears all things

1 Corinthians 13: 4 – 7

Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things.

Love abides all things and survives. The ERV Bible reads, “Love never gives up on people.” It is good, no, it is great that God loves us with this kind of affection. No matter what we do; no matter how far we may have traveled from the path, His love never gives up on us. Another translation says, “Love never stops being patient” (God’s Word). That is a bit hard to imagine but He never, ever gives up on anyone. He is patient with us as we endeavor to find our way. God still loves that person that we think of as being far from the truth. That is not to say that He approves of their path or choices but His love remains undiminished. There is not one thing any of us can do to make God love us even one iota less than if we were perfect. His love cannot be earned with any amount of good works or perfect behavior. He loves us because at the foundation of the earth He chose to. When He first envisioned human beings He made a decision to love us and the only way God can love is as the unfettered, unearned, patient, caring love that He is. He is bound by who He is and He is love as it is defined in this chapter. Love bears up under all things. It does not fail because of wrongs suffered. God’s love is perfect.

We can love in the same way but it is important to say that while we can continue to love someone who has wronged us we do not stay yoked with people who abuse us. We continue to love them as God does and we can pray with God’s kind of love issuing from our hearts but that is not the same as allowing ourselves to be mistreated. Relationships are built upon reciprocal kindness. I want you to accept God’s love as He means it and I want you to love others with the love that God gives you. I do not want you to think that makes you a victim to every person that wants to abuse you. That is not God’s best for you. We have to be wise in whom we associate with. The book of Proverbs teaches us that. God is not raising up victims but rather victors. Love is the most powerful force in the universe. We can and should express God’s love in this world because in Jesus we are the light of the world. Let your light shine by letting more of God’s love fill you. He is the love that never gives up on you, the love that bears all things.