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PORTRAIT OF LOVE
By Lahry Sibley
1 Cor 13: 4Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.
I would like to turn your head just a small tweak, if I may, that you may possibly view this passage in a way not seen before. When we read these lines in this text, let us remember Who inspired them. Love Himself. God is love. So when you and I read these lines, we need to keep that in mind. Everything that is said here about love, can be said about God. For God is love. God is longsuffering, patient, and kind. Are you? Am I? God neither envies nor boils over with jealousy. God is a jealous God, but never motivated by envy. God needs no boasting, all His handiwork takes care of that nicely. God is glorious, but never in vain. He never displays Himself in a haughty manner. He IS. He is more than enough.
5It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God's love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].
God is not conceited. He is quite contented with Himself. He is not rude, nor does He have any need to be. His Word is final. He does not act unbecomingly. His Justice needs no defense. His actions never need anyone’s counsel. Even though God has the ability and the power to back it up, He does not insist on having His own way. He has nothing to seek for Himself, as all things are already His. God hates murmuring, and finds those who murmur are quite insulting failure to recognize His character of love. God does not react emotionally to evil that is cast His way, for no weapon formed against Him shall prosper. Because He does not immediately react to wrong suffered, folks get the idea that there is no consequence to their actions against God, His kingdom, and His law. They think He pays no attention when in reality nothing escapes Him and the time of judgment will come with consequences irreversible. Selah.
6It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.
God does not rejoice in injustice and unrighteousness. That’s why all unrighteousness is sin. God delights in righteousness, because He is righteous and peace overflows when truth prevails and all are obedient to it.
7Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].
God can never be overwhelmed by circumstances and events. God is ready for every person to repent, to inherit full pardon for their sins, and live with Him in fellowship and glory forever. Tragically, not everyone will. But then, not everyone loves. Nothing that happens in this world weakens God, only man is weakened by the deplorable actions he takes in his failure to be like God, his failure to love.
8Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]. As for prophecy ([d]the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), it will be fulfilled and pass away; as for tongues, they will be destroyed and cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away [it will lose its value and be superseded by truth].
The supply of God’s love and His ability to demonstrate His love are without limit. Prophecy will one day be no longer needed, because all will be revealed to us when man’s immoral will has been completely eradicated from existence and God’s pure, holy, moral kingdom will once again be restored to full creation splendor and complete grandeur. Truth will be on display because God Himself will be the display of all that is true, and truth will be all there is, for His glory, honor, and praise. No injustice, no sorrow, no fear. God IS.
9 For our knowledge is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect), and our prophecy (our teaching) is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect).
Though these gifts are of great importance to the church and each member, they are limited and never fully expose the majesty of God and His love. We know that one day these gifts will pale and the living reality of the fountain of all knowledge, wisdom and truth will be displayed before those who have chosen to love Him, no matter what the cost.
10But when the complete and perfect (total) comes, the incomplete and imperfect will vanish away (become antiquated, void, and superseded).
Oh happy day when our Master sets foot on Mt. of Olives once again. He will display the fullness of all that is lacking in the life and ways of man. There will be nothing that is undecided, nothing left unmanaged, no one overlooked.
11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; now that I have become a man, I am done with childish ways and have put them aside.
Children are by nature, selfish creatures. They don’t go to school to learn how to be selfish, it comes natural. They are born that way. “Mine!!” the one year old shouts when one the ownership of “his” possessions is challenged. Becoming a man means becoming like God in respect to His ability and nature to love. Selfishness is not a characteristic of God or love. Real men love God, and they love their neighbor as themselves. How can this be? Because they no longer live, but God lives in them. Their old nature of selfishness dies, and then He comes in like a flood. To fill us with the will and the desire to do His good pleasure. To love Him and to love others the way He loves, which is what this chapter is all about.
Faith, hope, and love, are who we are as Christians. The greatest of these character traits is love, because God is love. When we love, we are most like Him, and it pleases Him. Love never fails because God never fails. Love is the very character and nature of God, and when we love, we are most like Him. Selah - Lahry
The faith that "SAVES", is the faith that "OBEYS"!
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