God's Definition of Love
By David Sanford
If I talk a lot about God, the Bible, and Church, but I fail to ask about other people’s needs, I’m simply making a lot of empty religious noise.
If I graduate from theological seminary and know all the answers to questions you’ll never even think of asking, and if I have all the degrees to prove it … and if I say I believe in God with all my heart, soul, and strength, claiming to have incredible answers to my prayers, but I fail to take the time to find out what makes others laugh and why they cry, I’m nothing.
If I sell an extra car and some of my books to raise money for poor starving kids somewhere, and if I give my life for God’s service and burn out after pouring everything I have into the work, but do it all without ever once caring about the people, the real hurting people—the moms and dads and sons and daughters and orphans and widows and the lonely and forgotten—if I pour my life into the Kingdom but forget to love those here on earth, my energy is wasted, and so is my life.
Here is what love is like … genuine love. God’s kind of love. It’s patient. It can wait.
It helps others, even if they never find out who assisted them. Love doesn’t look for greener pastures. Love doesn’t boast. It doesn’t try to build itself up to be something
Love doesn’t act in a loose, immoral way. It doesn’t seek to take, but it willingly gives. Love doesn’t lose its temper. It doesn’t keep changing its mind. Love doesn’t think about how difficult the other person is, and certainly doesn’t think of how it could get back at someone. Love is grieved deeply over the evil in this world, but it rejoices over truth.
Love comes and sits with you when you’re feeling down and finds out what is wrong. It empathizes with you and believes in you. Love knows you’ll come through just as God planned, and love carries on to the end. It doesn’t give up, quit, diminish, or go home.
Love perseveres, even when everything goes wrong and the feelings leave and the other person doesn’t seem as special anymore. Love succeeds 100 percent of the time.
That, my friend, is what genuine love is.
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. ... 13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7, 13, NLT)
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This paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 13 is copyright © 2010 David Sanford. David is an author, editor, and literary agent with Credo Communications. Among his many credits, David served as executive editor of the acclaimed new Holy Bible: Mosaic, NLT (Tyndale House Publishers). Learn more at www.credocommunications.net
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