“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” — 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NCV
What Is Love?
When I read “what is love,” I immediately sing the lyrics, “Oh baby, don’t hurt me.” The song “What is Love” by Haddaway was a popular hit in the 90s. The lyrics reference love with a romantic connotation. In fact, I’ve always defined the word as a noun that expresses adoration in a relationship. Previously, I believed the passage in 1 Corinthians 13 only referenced weddings, dating, couples, etc., but after spending more time in the Word, I realized I misunderstood the meaning of love.
By the world’s standards, Google says love is “an intense feeling of deep affection.” However, if I were to make my own copy of the dictionary, my definition of love would only include one word: God.
God is love, and this revelation is life-changing. God is all of the characteristics that embody the Holy definition of love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.
An awesome aspect to note is that we are made in the image of God. When we put our faith in Jesus Christ, we are continuously being transformed by the Holy Spirit to reflect the image of God. Just as athletes try to emulate the rhythm of a swing, throw or stroke, followers of Christ are meant to walk, talk and breathe like Jesus.
Knowing who God is, what He stands for, and who He’s created you to be is lifesaving. I know I fall short in all Holy categories defining love. Similar to being an athlete, being a believer requires consistent work to produce gains. Spending time with God, creating Christian community, praying, worshipping and reading the Bible are all the places we open ourselves to God’s transformation.
Substitute your name for “love” in today’s verses and see which definitions match or conflict with your ways of living (*insert name* is patient and kind…). Instead of hurrying to try to become all of these adjectives, pick a few to pray over. Praise God for the attributes you already possess and seek His guidance toward becoming fully saturated with His love in every way.
— Karlie Smith
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