In today's passage, Paul talks about love and its preeminence over speech, knowledge, generosity, and self-sacrifice (vv. 1-3). The apostle then describes the nature of biblical love, which is patient, kind, humble, and slow to anger (vv. 4-7).
However, we often struggle as we try to practice this model of unselfish affection. One reason is that the godly expression of caring doesn't come naturally to us. Pure Christian love puts the other person ahead of our own interests, even when our human inclinations clamor to place self first (v. 5).
A second challenge is the temptation to withhold affection until others apologize or change their behavior. We remember their offense long after it has occurred. That's not what our Lord did—He loved us while we were still sinners and forgave us for everything (Rom. 5:8; Luke 23:34).
Furthermore, it is easier to point out someone else's unkindness toward us than to see where we have fallen short. Perhaps a close friend has spoken impatiently to us and we responded with angry words. How easily we can use Scripture to point out her mistake, but how hard to admit our own.
We are called to be loving towards God as well as those around us (Mark 12:30-31). We've received the Holy Spirit, who will help us learn how to care deeply for others.
Experiencing God's affection and demonstrating it to others are to be two of our greatest joys. Take time to memorize the attributes of biblical love, and look for ways to practice them in your relationships. In times of stress, think about the list, and let the power of love transform your response.
For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit www.intouch.org.
Used with permission from In Touch Ministries, Inc. © 2009 All Rights Reserved.