Ephesians 4:32 tells us to be kind, tender hearted…forgiving. But what does that mean, really. Me? I could cry at the drop of a hat. I’m sensitive, but I have to be strong in the Lord or that works against me if I let people’s anger, spite or bitterness, or any unkind words into my heart. So tenderhearted is loving, it is babies and puppies and butterflies.
But while it is compassion, concern, it is also wisdom and diiscern. When to speak those kind words and when to walks away from a toxic conversation. Let’s look at 1 Corinthians 13 — The Love Chapter, in a clear English Standard translation. And the n my take on it.
1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Do you speak in tongues? Or know someone who does? It is a powerful gift. And you can still pray that way and not be walking in love with someone. It’s true, I see it all the time. You’re just a noise. ( That’s why people will tune out preachers. ) Do you have the gift of prophecy? I do. I used it the other day. A lady sent me a picture of herself and her grandson on her birthday. Naturally, she was proud of him and asked if I thought he was handsome. I was about to kid her but found myself typing that he was God’s precious gift to the right girl, to wait for her. it’s just Jesus.
I have alot more Bible wisdom and understanding thanks to the Holy Spirit. No matter how smart you are, someone is smarter. We are not in competition. We are in Christ. If we are competing, we are not in love. We are nothing and nothing without Him anyway. Even if you can move moutains with your faith, nothing.
Have you ever read Foxes book of Martyrs? Not a coffee table book. Being crucified is horrible. Being imapled is horrible, put on a stake and covered in pitch, and used a torch at a banquet, unthinkable. If you submitted yourself to this, and had no love, it’s meaningless. If Jesus had died and not out of love to save us, it would have been useless, thankfully, we know better but many do not see Him as Savior, or the Son of God, only as a teacher or prophet, perhaps. You would gain nothing, but Jesus overcame so we would, He gave up everything so we gain everything.
The rich young ruler came to Jesus and He posed to him this very question. Giving away everything. Zaccheus was a sinner, a crooked tax collecter was eager to make amends. But this man boasted in himself about his abilities. He was sorrowful, Jesus didn’t necessarily want him to give up his wealth but His pretense of self righteousness. He was counting his own love, not God’s. Make no mistake Jesus is referring to Himself here, giving away all He had, heaven, giving His body to be burned, He went to hell and retrieved the keys, God raised Him from the dead. And when I say Jesus, Paul was knocked off his horse on the way to Damascus and Jesus spoke to him about persecuting Christians, so as the writer of 1st Corinthians, the Holy Spirit is giving him Jesus words here.
Many people are told to put their own name in here and uses it as a confession, not a bad idea. But we are supposed to be like Jesus. Do we look like Him?
Jesus is patient and kind; Jesus does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. Jesus does not insist on His own way, He gives us a choice. Jesus is not irritable or resentful. Jesus does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Jesus bore all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends. Jesus never ends, He is Alpha and Omega, love eternal.
Love is not impatient nor unkind, never envious, God has the best for you, boast about Jesus, not arrogant but confident in Jesus. Love is not crude or rude, does not resent correction or direction or being called on to do His works prepared for you. Love is not happy to see someone getting his just desserts. Love will not lie. Love will beareverything by His grace, believe hope and endure, try as the enemy may to destroy you.
Love, my interpretation, is not snide, snippy, smart alec or know it all. Love will not shame you belittle you or degrade you, It will not embarrass or humiliate you, especially, in public. There is so much more to Jesus love than we know.
Prophecies, will pass away, many prophetic words are not fulfilled by a person not recieving. I know a lady who had prayer, and told that she was being given a new set of lungs, from a word of knowledge or vision, but she died. She did not hold tight to that promise, she could have received love and healing. So many people are not familiar with how spiritual gifts work. She really needed to believe for herself, for others to stand in faith with her, she lost her battle, a battle that should have and could have been the Lord’s.
Tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. He is talking about the Holy Spirit and gifts but none of us are perfect as Jesus is, though we have many gifts. He’s the perfect one. Unless we can fully rely on Him, we are only a glimmer of His perfection. He illuminates our spirits, the more we seek Him and grow in Him, and trust Him, but one day, perfection will come in the person of Jesus.
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, ( or woman ) I gave up childish ways. How many grown ups do we see that are still childish? Teenaged toddlers? Grown men acting like frat boys, girls going crazy? God created humor, not filth. Fun not foolishness. Do any of us really know all that much? Or are we just bratty litttle chidren wanting to do it our way? When we get to heaven, we can’t be singing I did it My Way, we should be sing Lord, Have Your Way iin Me!!!
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
And I know you check yourself out, lipstick, liner smudges. Reach for that brush, one more spray of perfume. In every glass you pass during the day, do you see Jesus? If you don’t like what you see? Take another look. He sees you. He’s not looking at your outward appearance but at your heart.
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. The greatest of these is Jesus.
Happy Valentines Day!