How have you defined love through past relationships?
How have you experienced God’s love?
What is your biggest challenge in loving others?
Receive It. We think we know what love is. Even if we think love has confused, hurt, and abandoned us, we still seek it. Why? We seek it because we’re created to seek it. We seek it even when we’ve been confused, hurt, and abandoned, because we confuse human love with God’s love. Human love is limited, so we’re going to be confused, hurt, and abandoned. It’s not love that has done these things to us; it’s people. And God is God, not “people.” We must differentiate between flawed human love and completed God’s love.
What characteristics of love do you find in the following verses?
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. Love is not rude, is not selfish, and does not get upset with others. Love does not count up wrongs that have been done. Love takes no pleasure in evil but rejoices over the truth. Love patiently accepts all things. It always trusts, always hopes, and always endures. Love never ends. There are gifts of prophecy, but they will be ended. There are gifts of speaking in different languages, but those gifts will stop. There is the gift of knowledge, but it will come to an end. (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8)
God’s love is active. Because He loved the world, He gave us Jesus, His one and only Son, to live on earth and to die an excruciating, humiliating death. Giving is an action. God’s love doesn’t take the easy path. He has the best conclusion in mind, but the path to that conclusion is often not easy. God instructs us to love one another. That means our love should be active, too.
Live It. Consider the aspects of love you most struggle with in the verses above. Struggling comes from tension, and while tension left unattended can become destructive, tension leading to a progressive struggle produces growth. Refuse to struggle on your own. Ask God to show you these qualities in real and personal ways. Spend a few minutes in prayer, asking God to open your eyes to see Him in a true, revealing light.