Earlier this month we celebrated Valentines day. To many, they don’t like this celebration because they may be without a Valentine. We celebrate love as a Nation every year at this time. Why? Because everyone wants to be loved.
Songwriters have written songs like; “Love is all you need,” or “Love will keep us together.” How about; “I’m all out of love, and so lost without you.”
Let’s remind ourselves of the One Who has loved us first and the most:
John 3:16 NLT
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”
God loved us, so He gave… He gave up the very person he cherished the most, Jesus Christ, because God had to save the world from utter damnation. This is extravagant love. Our minds have a hard time wrapping itself around the thought of this. But God loved people enough to send His only Son to save us from spending eternity in Hell. This is powerful love!
We, as the World, need this transforming love in us and we need to show this love to others. We need to cherish people like God does. We need to love people into transformation.
LOVING PEOPLE INTO TRANSFORMATION
(Based on 1 Corinthians 13:1 – 13)
Read 1 Corinthians 13:1 – 13. In it states if we don’t have love we have nothing. Love takes its time. It is not in a hurry. It comes with no expectations. It just is.
So what is 1 Corinthians 13:1 – 13 actually saying? Love is such a simple subject, yet very complex. Matters of the heart are hard to define. In this passage of scripture we will see the very basic important points we must consider to gage our love for others and their love for us, and our love for God and His love for us, and apply it to our lives.
1. Love is superior to speaking languages or intellect.
1 Corinthians 13:1 (CEV)
“What if I could speak all languages of humans and of angels? If I did not love others, I would be nothing more than a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”
Having the highest intellect or ability to speak languages known and unknown doesn’t mean a thing if you have no love.
People are more important then boasting about our abilities and knowledge.
What good is having the ability of speaking to any nation if you have no love for that nation? People know if you are sincere.
Noisy gong or a clanging cymbal makes a lot of noise, but really has no other use. This is what our intellect or the ability to speak in various languages has when compared to loving people. We are “noisy” when we put all of these above love. Love conquers all and sees all.
2. Love authenticates spiritual gifts.
I Corinthians 13:2
“What if I could prophesy and understand all secrets and all knowledge? And what if I had faith that moved mountains? I would be nothing, unless I loved others.”
I have seen people “prophecy” in a very judgmental, critical tone and think it is okay, but there was no love in it, not even tough love. It actually did more damage then good. Far too often Christian people put a higher priority on Spiritual gifts then they do loving people. Someone with a true Spiritual gift will flow God’s love.
We can have all wisdom, knowledge, and understanding and live a very lonely life, all because we choose to be selfish and not love others. People have spent years of their life trying to gain worldly wisdom, knowledge, and understanding, but without love, all their intellect is in vain. We can’t take our intellect to heaven when Christ comes to take us home, but we can take His love that is flowing through us to others to heaven. It originated there. Combining love with our knowledge is powerful. It will help you make godly decisions instead of worldly ones.
God knows what motivates us to do things. If you are ministering or confronting people and there is no love, it will come across as harsh, stale, and very mean. People respond to correction that is given in love. Correction that is given in just intellect or without love will have a negative affect on the receiver. People will listen and respond easier to correction given in love.
If you are correcting your children when they have done something wrong, but don’t have love, you are in the wrong. It will scar their lives forever. Yes, you need to correct your children, but take a moment to relax your anger. Take a moment to respond to them in a loving way. There are too many grown adults who were corrected and abused from their parents all because there was no love in their correction. Always remember your children will grow up to be adults and how you treat them today will form them into the adult they will become. Ask God for His wisdom and always put on love when correcting your children.
3. Love is not self-profiting.
1 Corthinthians 13:3
“What if I gave away all that I owned and let myself be burned alive? I would gain nothing, unless I loved others.”
What if we gave all that we owned to the poor, but our motive was not backed with love? It is all worthless. We wouldn’t gain a thing.
“If we give away all we have, while we withhold the heart from God, it will not profit. Nor even the most painful sufferings. How are those deluded who look for acceptance and reward for their good works, which are as scanty and defective as they are corrupt and selfish!”
Matthew Henry Commentary
Giving to the poor is a selfish act if not accompanied with love. Selfish in that you want to be seen for your deed, instead of lovingly reaching out and helping someone.
“If all that a man had were dealt out in this way, in small portions, so as to benefit as many as possible, and yet were not attended “with true love toward God and toward man,” it would be all false, hollow, hypocritical, and really of no value in regard to his own salvation. It would profit nothing. It would not be such an act as God would approve; it would be no evidence that the soul would be saved. Though good might be done to others, yet where the “motive” was wrong, it could not meet with the divine approbation, or be connected with his favor.”
Albert Barnes Commentary
When you think about it, being selfish is the opposite of love. If you find yourself thinking about yourself and wanting things your way, this is not love. Which leads to my next point.
4. Love is selfless.
1 Corinthians 13:4 – 7
“Love is kind and patient, never jealous, boastful, proud, or rude. Love isn’t selfish or quick tempered. It doesn’t keep a record of wrongs that others do. Love rejoices in the truth, but not in evil. Love is always supportive, loyal, hopeful, and trusting.”
Kind and patient, never jealous, boastful, arrogant, or rude: Can you place your love for others in these categories?
Taking the time with others when they need your help is showing love. When you are waiting for someone to do something you want them to do, do you wait patiently?
Do you show kindness and speak kind words, even when it is to your enemy?
Do you get jealous when someone you love succeeds or do you rejoice with them?
Do you remember the wrong people have done to you and bring it up to them? It is hard to love people who have wronged you. Seriously, it is hard to forgive someone who has wronged you. People will let you down. People will hurt you. Their lack of awareness to the wrong they have done can paralyze us if we let it. God requires us to love each other as He loves us. We are to abound in love. Knowing this gives us an insight on our own character. If we hold a wrong against someone, we truly do not love them… OUCH! The good news is that we can ask God to help us love one another. Paul wrote that we can increase and abound in our love for each other.
1 Thess. 3:12 (NKJV)
“And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you.”
How do we love our enemy or those who have wronged us? We pray for them. It is not easy, but pray for them.
We need to rejoice in truth and not in evil. Don’t be happy when evil prevails. Fight for justice for yourself and for others.
Do you remain calm when someone is angry, or do you get angry yourself which complicates matters worse?
The New Testament word for ‘love’ is ‘agape’. It is not the natural love for a friend or a relative. It is the kind of love that God shows to people. We do not deserve it and we can never earn it. So, when we know God’s love, we should show that same love to other people. (www.easyenglish.info Bible Commentary).
5. Love is eternal and imperishable.
1 Corinthians 13:8 – 10
“Love never fails! Everyone who prophesies will stop, and unknown languages will no longer be spoken. All that we know will be forgotten. We don’t know everything, and our prophecies are not complete. 1But what is perfect will someday appear, and what isn’t perfect will then disappear.”
Love never is to be out of use; it always holds its place. It will always be fresh and usable.
Prophesies, and unknown languages are gifts from God for us today, but this scripture lets us see the importance compared to having love for others. There is no comparison. These gifts are important, but loving others is even more important. It doesn’t matter if you have these gifts yet never show love to others.
Love is God, and God is love. It is the very essence of God. The gifts are just that; gifts from God. The gifts are for edification while we are on this earth. When we get to heaven these gifts will no longer be relevant or needed. But love will always remain. Love is eternal and imperishable.
All these things will pass away, and all that is not perfect will pass away, but love will never fail!
6. Love is mature
1 Corinthians 13:11 – 12
“When we were children, we thought and reasoned as children do. But when we grew up, we quit our childish ways. Now all we can see of God is like a cloudy picture in a mirror. Later we will see him face to face. We don’t know everything, but then we will, just as God completely understands us.”
Don’t think like a child any longer. Put away childish ways of being selfish and arrogant.
Even in our pursuit of love on this earth, it really is a cloudy picture we have right now. Some sweet day we will see God face to face. We will see Him as He is. Then we will understand God’s love completely.
7. Love is the greatest.
1 Corinthians 13:13
“For now there are faith, hope, and love. But of these three, the greatest is love.”
Faith, hope and love have been a well-known group of qualities. Paul speaks about them in other letters.
1 Thessalonians 1:3
“…remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father.”
“…since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel.”
But now abideth faith, hope, love. These three shall survive. They are eternal. They continue to exist in the church, and shall not fail in its glorified state. As long as the redeemed saint shall have future ages before him, so long will trust in God and hope give them brightness, while love itself is the very atmosphere of the divine life. These three words explain the whole of the Christian life in this world. Christians have faith that God will forgive them because of Christ’s sacrifice. They have hope for the future, because of Christ’s resurrection. They live a life of faith and hope among Christian brothers and sisters whom they love.
The greatest of these is love. The greatest because it glorifies both faith and hope, sanctifies every faculty and Christian grace, is the very moving impulse of the gospel, and is the one quality that is divine. “God is love.” Love is the greatest, because God himself is love. A friendship with Him will never end, but it will continue into eternity.
1 John 4:8
“He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”
If you are struggling to love people, take a look at your relationship with God. Do you really know Him? Chances are you don’t because God is love! He loved the world so He gave…. If we want to be more like Jesus, we have to embrace people and love them with the love He has given us. If not, we will just be a noisy clanky gong and live a miserable life.
Now after reading 1 Cor. 13 and studying it together, turn this passage of scripture around and see this is how God is towards us. Substitute the word Love for God in verses 4 – 8 and it will read like this: “4
Love God is kind and God is patient, God is never jealous, boastful, proud, or 5rude. Love God isn’t selfish or quick tempered. It God doesn’t keep a record of wrongs that others we do. 6 Love God rejoices in the truth, but not in evil. 7 Love God is always supportive, loyal, hopeful, and trusting. Love God never fails…”
Even if that person is rejecting you or behaving badly, the love of God in you helps you to continue in a relationship with them. You are praying and believing God will change their hearts and outlook. You know that the same Holy Spirit Who works on your heart is working on theirs. God pursues us constantly. He doesn’t force us to love Him or even like Him. Yet He relentlessly pursues us. We are valuable to Him. He never gives up on us.
“I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love, With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.”
God is constantly pursuing us. He draws us with His love. His love is everlasting, and never-changing.
How did Jesus forgive the very ones who were crucifying Him? With Godly love. It wasn’t human love that held him to the cross. It was the love of the Father that gave him strength to fulfill the redemptive plan to save this world.
We are ignorant to the fullness of God’s love He has for us. Yet, we can taste a little of His love on earth by opening up ourselves and receiving His love. Often times we reject God’s love thinking, “We are not good enough” or “He could never love me after what I have done.” These are just excuses for not receiving His love. His love is unconditional. It doesn’t have attachments connected to it.
God just puts His love out for us to receive it again and again. Eventually, through circumstances and finding the right pieces to the puzzle, we see how much God loves us and we start receiving His love in our hearts. When we finally receive His love it fills us to the point we even wonder why we fought it in the first place.
God’s love is contagious. People will sense and see something different about you. You are walking in God’s love, which is not of this world, and the people will be drawn to you. Not because of anything you have done, but because of the Love of God in you.
Ministering to people, without having love in your heart for them, will not have the abundant fruit you are looking for. We, as ministers, have to be full of God’s love, and out of the overflow we will minister successfully to others.
Don’t Fake The Front
People know if you are fake or genuine. We can’t “Fake The Front” and still be productive in the Kingdom of God. Faking the front is when you pretend you love someone and act like everything is okay when it is not.
God sees your heart and He knows you are not being genuine. Ask God to teach you to love with the love He has given you.
1 John 4:8 (NKJV)
“He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”
1 John 4:11 (NKJV)
“Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
We can love others with Godly, Agape love. This is genuine love that will never fail.
Once you start loving people with the genuine love of God, you will see open doors before you. Why? Because God’s favor goes before you. You are oozing with God’s love and it can’t help but minister to others.
People will want what you have. They will see you are different from other people. You will get promoted at work over others that are more qualified, all because you finally have received God’s love and show it to others.
God opens these doors because you are His hand extended. You have been transformed by His love and now can be trusted with greater things.
Your demeanor changes. Your countenance changes. You are more pleasant to be around. You value people more. You show appreciation towards your work and the things you do at your job all because the love of God is flowing in you.
“Saying ‘No’ to your self and ‘yes’ to someone else.”
(John 3:16 – God loved so He gave)
This has been taught and instilled in me from a precious lady, “Connie Hise.” She has shown genuine love for others and the Love of God flows out of her as she ministers.
I have seen this in my own ministry. People won’t care what you have to say until they see you care. It would only be a clanging gong if I ministered out of head knowledge and not a heart of love.
People take time to change. There is a process for healing. There is a process for understanding. There is a process to changing. All people have a higher level of potential they can climb to, but the very thing that is blocking their accent could be the lack of feeling loved or cherished.
Love people as they are transforming to be more like Jesus. There will be hard times, times you will want to give up on them, but don’t give up. You might even be misunderstood, but it is all worth seeing someone receive the love of God which will empower and change their lives.
Pastor Kris Belfils