God, soften our hearts to the promptings of your grace and love. Open our eyes to see what true, pure love looks like.
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13 (NIV)
Love can be complicated. Just talk to any teenager about their relationships and you’ll see that. It doesn’t get much easier to understand. Whether you’re dating, newly married, or have celebrated decades of marriage – love and relationships are hard. And it doesn’t just apply to romantic relationships. Loving our friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors is HARD! Personalities clash, communication gets muddled, and we often throw our hands up in confusion, exhaustion, or frustration.
What we often forget is that we have a roadmap for love. Jesus served as an incredible example of how to live out the love of God in our relationships with others. Scripture reminds us of this over and over and, in these often-quoted verses in 1 Corinthians, we see a list of characteristics of what love truly looks like.
Read through 1 Corinthians 13 and replace the word “love” with your name. Does it still ring true?
Note the characteristics that don’t seem to fit. These are areas to work on and ask God for help with. Pay attention to the promptings of the Holy Spirit as you seek to love more like Christ.
Jesus, thank you for showing us what pure, sacrificial love truly looks like. Guide our steps and help us love more like you every day.