Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Love According to 1 Corinthians 13 (Part 4)

"Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast what is good." -Romans 12:69 (ESV)

     Love is a simple yet intricate concept, and I deeply wish that I could go as in-depth as I'd like, but unfortunately I don't believe that if I had all the time in the world, I could possibly cover everything about love. We have the chapter about love, the 4 different kinds of love, the fact that it is the second greatest commandment, and how every commandment goes into loving your neighbor, according to Galatians 5:14. If you haven't been following along with this series, I have been writing about every aspect of love described in 1 Corinthians 13, and have previously covered that love is patient, kind, does not envy, does not boast, is not arrogant, is not rude, does not insist on its own way, is not irritable, and is not resentful. If you have not already, I would like to encourage you to go back and read those. 

     Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing, according to 1 Corinthians 13:6. What exactly does this mean? How many of you watch television? It can be easy to be sucked into dramas, soap operas, basically shows that have a lot of worldliness in them, but are these things that we should really dwell on? Philippians 4:8 says, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." This is a really long list. Let me ask you, if you are busy thinking about things that are honorable, pure, lovely, commendable,excellent, and worthy of praise, is there room for things that are crooked? Impure? Hateful? Deplorable? The list goes on, but you get my point. What about the shows we watch? The music we listen to? Do these things make us think about things that are good and pure, or the opposite?

     If love does not rejoice in wrongdoing, what does it rejoice in? The answer to that is that love rejoices in truth, or, the Bible. This again connects with Philippians 4:8. Why should we rejoice in the truth, though? Well, how can we not?! I mean you can't read one verse of the Bible without seeing God's love. From the very first words in Genesis 1:1 that say "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." to when Abraham was promised a son in Genesis 17:16, to when God saved the Israelites numerous times, to when Jesus was born in Matthew 1, to even the shortest verse in the Bible, when we see that Jesus wept, in John 11:35, to when He died for our sins in Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, and John 19, to the very last verse in Revelation 22:21 where John wishes that the grace of the Lord Jesus be with all, and it most definitely is. How can we not rejoice in that? How can we not rejoice in our Savior? How can we not rejoice every day, no matter what hardships we go through, that God had enough love for us that He would send His Son to save us all from the fiery eternity that is hell? Of course love rejoices in the truth, because the truth is love. The truth is patient, kind, does not envy, does not boast, is not arrogant. The truth is from God, and it is pure and holy, and it is those things that we should dwell on.

     Love bears all. What does this mean? This, in no way, means that love ignores all sin. It does not mean that it tolerates sin, or accepts sin. We are to hate sin, as we see in Romans 12:9, which says "Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast what is good." But this goes right back to patience. When we have a sibling who's being particularly annoying, or a friend that just keeps going on and on about something that seems petty to us, or someone is being particularly irritable, as Christians, we need to show them that we still love them, and treat them with respect, If they have a problem, tell them lovingly so that they see it, but be loving. John 13:34-35 says, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. (35) By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

     Do these things describe you? Do you rejoice in truth? Are you patient with those around you? If not, then I would like to encourage you to change that. Write down what you are struggling with, put it somewhere safe, and think about those things and how you can solve them. I would also like you to read and study this for yourself, as unfortunately I can't put every aspect of love into five paragraphs of text, but if I could then I definitely would. If you need some uplifting, if you need encouragement to love others more, then talk to someone you trust. Talk to a parent, a close friend, a Bible class teacher, someone who can help you through your struggles. Ask for prayers from your friends, and most of all, study and reflect upon God's word daily. It goes a long way.