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Tuesday, 14 February 2017

What is Love?

What is Love? 

I tend to find the answer to life’s questions written in the Word of God. This should not be any different when it comes to the understanding of love. The world gives and promotes a superficial idea of love, where lust is often regarded as love. Love is not based on impulse but principle. Love is not temporary or based on feeling it is a continuous act.

The topic of love cannot be exhausted. There are different aspects to this one entity and all theses variances make up or at least contribute to understanding what constitutes love.

First Corinthians 13 is chapter where apostle Paul outlines the formulae of love. (In the King James version of the Bible the word love is referred to as charity but for the purpose of this article I will be using the word love that is found in other Bible versions)   

1 Corinthians 13King James Version (KJV)
13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

“The Lord desires me to call the attention of His people to the thirteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians. Read this chapter every day, and from it obtain comfort and strength. Learn from it the value that God places on sanctified heaven-born love, and let the lesson that it teaches come home to your hearts. Learn that Christ-like love is of heavenly birth, and that without it all other qualifications are worthless.” (Review and Herald, July 21, 1904)

By beholding we become changed. In reading about true love from the Word of God we better understand the topic and how we are to apply it to our daily lives. In this article I will be focusing on verses four to seven. Theses portion of the texts reflects the characteristics of love. As I outline each I will draw examples from Christ and also how we too can excersise love each day.

The ministry of Christ embodies true love, during is first advent he was continuously tempted, provoked and critiqued yet no guile was found in his mouth  (1 Peter 2:22)
 Charity suffereth long, and is kind;

During the course of Christ ministry, it is recorded that the Pharisees and Saudcees would often tempt or want to inflict harm upon Jesus. Yet he never once retilated

Luke 4:28-29King James Version (KJV)
28 And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath,
29 And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.

1 Peter 2:23King James Version (KJV)
23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:

Luke 6:35King James Version (KJV)
35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.

The first out of the three text I have shared above is speaks of a time when the Jewish leaders wanted to kill Christ “that they might cast him down headlong.” The second verse is an account from the book of Peter where it is outlined that Christ never threatened those who caused him harm. The final verse is an instruction from Christ telling us the children of God are kind towards the unthankful and those who are evil. Christ showed the latter towards those who sort out to destroy him and in like manner we are to do the same.

When I first came across Luke 6:35 I found it numbing, being British we often take our please and thank “yous” very seriously and are offended if one does not offer a some kind gratitude. The latter is merely a form of pride, wanting to be recognised for doing something good. Rather than expecting an acknowledgement for an act of kindness, let us regard kindness as a duty that does not need acknowledgement.

charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

Philippians 2: 5-9 King James Version (KJV)
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

Jesus being equal to God did not envy God he left his heavenly kingdom and decided to take on the form of humanity. Due to such graceful act God exalts Jesus Christ above every other name.

Verse 6 of 1 Corthinians mentions that love does not envy nor does it showcase pride or arrogance.  The Lord tells us in Luke 6:35 “35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest”

Mark 9:35King James Version (KJV)
35 And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.
Love involves a willingness to put others before you and not expect any from of praise for doing so. In a world that has become obsessed with recognition for example Facebook like, retweets, blog shares, it may be difficult to do things without applauds. How can we get to a point where we do not see the need for appreciation? We can pray for a more humble heart and to intentional put others before ourselves.

My youngest sister sometimes helps with inputting closed captions/ subtitles on YouTube videos. When she has made me aware of this I asked her, “do you get paid ?” She said no. She enjoys doing so as it helps those who are deaf or heard of hearing enjoy the video. What humility!

Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

The word unseemly means unflattering, hideous ect. Love does not behave in an unflattering manner. There is an attraction when one exhibits the type of love spoken of in the Bible.  Love must be flattering and has an elegance Love is not fueled with cheesy pick up lines.

Once again the themes of humility and selflessness can be seen in this verse, “seeketh not her own”. As these themes are repeated there is an emphasis on ensuring that we understand that love is selfless and humble. If we profess to love someone or vice versa and the former and the latter is lacking, then there seems to be a misunderstanding of what love is.  “Amazing love! How can it be that thou, my God, shouldst die for me?” This line of from one of my favourite hymns, it speaks on the selflessness of Christ’s love. Christ left his heavenly abode to dwell with us and become a ransom for you and me. Christ did not think of himself but his creation.

 “[Love] is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;” anger and evil are not example of love the opposite of love is evil. How can we who declare to be children of God speak of love and showcase evil?

Matthew 5:39-48King James Version (KJV)
38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.

If wrong is done to us, it is not our place to retaliate 
1 Peter 3:9King James Version (KJV)
Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.

Romans 12:21“Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”

In repaying evil with evil what do we gain? We become just as ‘bad’ as the person or people who have committed the offence.
“Under a storm of stinging, faultfinding words, keep the mind stayed upon the word of God. Let mind and heart be stored with God's promises. If you are ill-treated or wrongfully accused, instead of returning an angry answer, repeat to yourself the precious promises:
“Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21.”

Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

God hates sin he cannot not stay where sin was, for his holiness would consume the appearance of sin “Hebrews 12:29King James Version (KJV)
29 For our God is a consuming fire.”

 When Christ came to earth we see the same, hatred of sin to the point Christ weeps over the destruction that was to appear over the children of Israel due to their sin. 

Luke 19:41-44 King James Version (KJV)
41 And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,
42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.
43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,
44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.

Christ also rebukes and chastens us when we fall into sin, he sends the Holy Spirit to convict us. “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” Revelation 3:19. However we must choose to listen to the convictions that the Lord God sends to us, pray to do the desire of the Lord God.

In conclusion, from looking at the three verses within 1 Corinthians 13 we can see that Love is not an irrational emotion but one that must promote humanity, despises evil, is selfless. These practices are not to be a one off, but are in fact continual.

References Ministry of Healing:

MH 486.2

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