"If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing." -1 Corinthians 13:3 (ESV)
We often look at 1 Corinthians as a list of things that are good to think about, and then continue on our way, not really taking them into consideration for our day-to-day lives. It can be easy to forget that these things don't only apply to some people, but to everyone, and we need to keep this list in mind when we interact with every person, not just the ones we love, (Luke 6:32) but everyone around us. Whether it be our siblings, parents, peers, teachers, bosses, or people who treat us poorly.
The first thing on this list is patience. How often is it that you lose patience with those around you? Whether or not it's someone who is always forgetting something, someone who keeps doing you wrong, or those who don't seem to be acting in a way that you seem fitting. Have you ever struggled with something in school, and your teacher got impatient with you? Did it help the situation at all? The same applies to basically everything else in life. If we are constantly getting impatient with those around us, how can we expect them to grow as Christians? It's important that we respect others enough to give them the patience that we wish others would give us (Luke 6:31)
The second thing on the list is kindness. How do you treat those around you? Do you treat only some with kindness? Little things like opening doors, offering help, and just showing your concern for others are some things that are sometimes taken for granted. I firmly believe that Earth would be almost like heaven if everyone treated everyone else with kindness. Why not be that kindness in the world? Why not show others, no matter how they treat you that you are a Christian and you will treat them with respect? John 13:35 says, "By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
"Love does not envy" according to 1 Corinthians 13:4. Have you ever seen someone else's clothing, the person they're dating, the grades they make, or the accomplishments they have achieved, and gotten jealous? Have you ever disliked someone purely because of what they have? A lot of this comes from not being satisfied with what you have been given. In Philippians 4:11 we see that we, like Paul, are to be content in every situation. But are we? When you don't have the newest phone, or the best food, or the nicest house, are you content? There's nothing wrong with trying your best in life, but are you content with what you do have? If not, then this will more than likely lead to jealousy, when you see that someone else has what you don't. It's important that we don't despise others because of what they have, but love them, and be happy for them that they have those things.
While this is not the entire list, I intend on my next few articles to be a continuation of this list, so that I can go as in-depth as I would like. There are so many things that love is, and it connects to almost everything from how we dress, to how we speak, to even how we think. Do you have these attributes? Are you patient? Are you kind? Do you refrain from envying others? It's important that we all study this and ask if our lives reflect it. Today I would like to encourage you to consider these things, and consider whether or not you fill your life with them.