Jessica Albritton, NextGen Minister LHBC

1 Corinthians 13:4-13
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

A few years back a group of adults posed a question to a group of kids ages 4 to 8. “What does love mean?” Here are a few of my favorite responses from that list. 

“When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.” Rebecca – age 8

 “Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.” Terri – age 4

 “Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.” Danny – age 7

 “Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it every day.” Noelle – age 7

 “Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford.” Chris – age 7

“Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.” Mary Ann – age 4

 “You really shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget,” Jessica – age 8

 Kids are the greatest, aren’t they? Just about everyone, big or small, has an opinion on what love is to them. 

Paul wrote the book of 1 Corinthians to the church in Corinth and dedicated an entire chapter to the subject of love. 

In his letter Paul points out that the Corinthian church was using all of their God-given spiritual gifts but had neglected to have love. Paul makes it very clear that our spiritual gifts amount to nothing if we don’t couple them with love. Without love our gifts are empty. 

In verses 4-7 Paul points out loves most prominent characteristics. Love is described as patient, kind, selfless, humble, and self-controlled just to name a few. These all sound like common sense but often we fall short when displaying love the way Jesus modeled for us. 

I have heard it said that love isn’t a feeling but instead a verb, it is something that you do. In 10 short verses Paul highlights 15 characteristics of love and what it looks like when acted out. Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross is our ultimate example of this perfect love. 

As we read what scripture defines love as we are faced with the harsh reality that perfect love is unattainable in our own strength. We can try our hardest to love but we always fall short of perfect love. We don’t measure up because we are sinful and live in a fallen world. That’s where His spirit comes in. We cannot love the way that He has called us to love in our own strength. Biblical love, the kind of perfect love defined by God, is something we will never be able to fully attain, but we are called to strive towards it anyway. 1 John 4:19 states, “We love because he first loved us.” God has shown us a perfect love by sending His Son to save us. God’s love is our example. He has set the standard. May we love like Jesus! 

Heavenly Father, thank you for being a loving and gracious God! Your love is perfect and never fails! I pray that my life can reflect that love to all those around me. Father, help me to love like you. When trials come and life gets hard may I look to your example and rely on your strength to love others. And I pray that in all this I can bring honor and glory to you! In Jesus name, amen!

Zephaniah 3:17
The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.