1 Corinthians 13 is a powerful chapter in the Bible. I’m sure you’ve probably read it numerous times. You probably have heard it most when you’ve attended a Christian wedding because it’s a favorite scripture to be read for that occasion.
If you recall, the Apostle Paul tries to define for us what love is really like. So let me ask you – if you were asked to write this chapter, how would you define love? And as you think about it, if you’re like me, you find it somewhat difficult to really give a definition that has some grit to it. I mean, how do you explain to others what love is like?
When Paul writes about it, you’ll notice he doesn’t give a dictionary definition but instead he gives a concept definition – a description of love displayed. The love Paul is talking about shows it’s value. Read this…
“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 evil. Love is always supportive, loyal, hopeful, and trusting. Love never fails!” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a CEV
Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. But here’s my problem with it – it’s not me. If that’s how my love is measured and graded – I fail miserably. Out of the 15 descriptions of love, I’m bad at all of them. Oh, sure I might have a good day now and then and actually achieve one or two of these. But on the whole… not so good. If I inserted my name in place of the word “love”, not one line would be true.
However, if I insert the name of Jesus – we’ve got a totally different ballgame. Read this…
“Jesus is kind and patient, never jealous, boastful, proud, or rude. Jesus isn’t selfish or quick tempered. Jesus doesn’t keep a record of wrongs that others do. Jesus rejoices in the truth, but not evil. Jesus is always supportive, loyal, hopeful, and trusting. Jesus never fails!”
Just in case you’re wondering, Jesus is still the answer to every question in life. He’s our hope and our foundation. He’s our security and joy. He is the Alpha and Omega – the beginning and the end. He’s the bright morning star, the way, the truth and the life. If you’re looking for love, you’ll always find it in Him.
Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Like me, you might find it hard to achieve the love standard in 1 Corinthians 13. But just so you know, it’s already been achieved. There’s only One who has done it perfectly, and that’s Jesus. And that same love that describes Him – is the same love He has for you.
Thank You for loving me with such a perfect love. Help me to find Your love everywhere I go and in everything I do. Help me to love like You. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.
Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen
Mark was Spiritual Director for VdC from 2016 to 2019. He's written many of the devotions, especially the Devote and Affirm series, found on this website.