1 John 4:8 tells us, “…God is love.” That is nothing new – we talk about how God is love all the time. But what I am beginning to see more and more is God does not have love – HE IS LOVE. God is the very definition of love. Our motivation for service must be love. Then, our motivation for service is truly God.
Jesus was “moved by compassion” to do many works. Matthew 9:36 says, “But when He (Jesus) saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them…” That compassion was love – that compassion was God.
I recently read 1 Corinthians 13 from the Mirror Bible – and want to share that with you in its entirety.
Speaking in tongues is not the point; love is. It is neither angelic eloquence, nor the mastery of human language that persuades. It doesn’t matter how poetic, prophetic, or profound I may sound; my conversation is reduced to the hollow noise of clanging brass cymbals if love’s echo is absent. I could predict the future in detail and have a word of knowledge for everyone. I could possess amazing faith, and prove it by moving mountains! It doesn't make me any more important than anyone else. Love is who you are! You are not defined by your gifts or deeds. Love is not about defending a point of view; even if I am prepared to give away everything I have and die a martyr’s death; love does not have to prove itself by acts of supreme devotion or self-sacrifice! Love is large in being passionate about life and relentlessly patient in bearing the offenses and injuries of others with kindness. Love is completely content and strives for nothing. Love has no desire to make other feel inferior and has no need to sing its own praises.Love is predictable and does not behave out of character. Love is not ambitious. Love is not spiteful and gets no mileage out of another’s mistakes. Love sees no joy in injustice. Love’s delight is in everything that truth celebrates. Love is a fortress where everyone feels protected rather than exposed! Love’s persuasion is persistent! Love believes. Love never loses hope and always remains constant in contradiction.Love never loses its altitude! Prophecies will cease. Tongues will pause. The quest for knowledge will be inappropriate wen perfection is grasped. What we perceived in prophetic glimpses is now concluded in completeness! When I was an infant I spoke with infant gibberish with the mind of an infant; my reasoning also was typical of an infant; how it all changed when I became a man! I am an infant no more! There was a time of suspense, when everything we saw was merely mirrored in the prophetic word, like in an enigma; but then I gaze face-to-face; behold I am in Him! I may know even as I have always been known! Now persuasion and every pleasurable expectation is completed in agape (love). Agape is the superlative of everything faith and hope always knew to be true about me! Love defines my eternal moment!” (I Corinthians 13, Mirror Bible)
I just wanted to share a few thoughts about the characteristics of love – the characteristics of God.
Love is large on being passionate about life and relentlessly patient in bearing the offenses and injuries of others with kindness. Love is completely content and strives for nothing. Love has no desire to make others feel inferior and has no need to sing its own praises.” (1 Corinthians 13:4)
2 Peter 1:3 says, “God’s powerful intervention gifted us with all that it takes to live life to the full…” A major characteristic about God is being passionate about life. The more I understand God is love, the more passionate I find myself becoming about life in general, and my life in particular! A major part of this being passionate about life is being relentlessly patient in bearing offenses and injuries of others with kindness. Love’s passion for life extends beyond tha passion for a good life for ourselves, and wants to see that God life in others as well! Being motivated by love means you have come to a place where you are content – resting in the security of God’s provision for you! Love makes you the one who is always building up other people – and has no place for bragging on the good deeds you have done. Remember verse 2? “…Love is who you are! You are not defined by your gifts or deeds.”
Love is predictable and does not behave out of character. Love is not ambitious. Love is not spiteful and gets no mileage out of another’s mistakes. (I Corinthians 13:5)
When we are motivated by love, we are predictable. That is to say, we will always act the same way! We always stay within the character of love. This is really a key to living out holiness in our lives. Jesus was asked what was the greatest commandment – and his response was to love God, and to love one another – why? Love is consistent. Love never behaves out of character – but always acts as God acts! Paul says that love is not ambitious – I don’t believe for a minute that this means we don’t strive to move forward and become better in our lives. It means that our motivating force for living life to the full is not advancement, but love. Love is not spiteful, and gets no pleasure from other’s mistakes. The Greek word for spiteful here means, “having no sharp edges.” Love is not into holding grudges or looking for the mistakes of others. There is no joy in other’s failures or short-comings.
Love sees no joy in injustice. Love’s delight is in everything that truth celebrates. (I Corinthians 13:6)
I believe this speaks to God’s attitude about injustice. God’s heart does not rejoice when his people suffer. There is no joy when people are used or abused; when people hurt because of prejudice or inequality. There is not joy in God’s heart when his people suffer sickness or disease; or when His people hurt with economic hardships. God delights in everything truth celebrates. What does truth celebrate? I believe this truth is the truth of the finished work of Jesus Christ at Calvary. Jesus came to bear our sin, sickness and poverty. Now, in Him, truth celebrates that we are free from sin, healed, and prosperous! In the same respect, this speaks powerfully to me on my motivating force to being in service for God. I do not celebrate injustice in the world – blame people for their condition, or condemn them for not walking in the light of truth. Instead, I am sent to be the bearer of glad tidings to those who have yet to year the truth, that there is a celebration to join!
Love is a fortress where everyone feels protected rather than exposed! Love’s persuasion is persistent! Love believes. Love never loses hope and always remains constant in contradiction (1 Corinthians 13:7)
Love is a fortress…God always provides a fortress where His people can feel safe and protected. Unfortunately, the Christian Faith has not really been known for this. I read a blog recently that stated, “…Christians are an army that kills its own wounded.” What a sad thing. Yet, I have seen it happen so much. I recently was chatting with a friend of mine at church who told me about an incident with his brother. He told me his brother was a faithful member of a local church in his community. At the end of a service one time, he began to cough quite uncontrollably. He got up from his seat to excuse himself from the service, so as to not be disruptive during their altar call. When he came from the bathroom, he was met by three of the church security personnel. He was told that he single handedly ruined the anointing of that service, was asked to sign a confession of that and told if he ever did it again he would be “excommunicated” from the church. When my friend told me this story, I almost laughed – certainly this was not happening! Love is a fortress where everyone feels protected rather than exposed! Yet for something he could not control he was being thrown out of the church! This is not love.
In the Old Testament is the story of Noah and his ark. That ark represented the love of God – a fortress where Noah, his family, the animals and all who would believe could feel protected and safe from the storms outside. When we are constantly interested in exposing the sins and shortcomings of others, we are not operating in LOVE. Love’s persuasion is persistent – it always believes in what has been completed for us at Calvary!
And love never loses hope – but remains constant! Hope is not wishful thinking – it is a confident expectation of a desired result. Because our expectation is confident (hope), we remain constant, even when things contradict that expectation. This is love!
Love never loses its altitude! (I Corinthians 13:8)
I love this last part – love never loses its altitude. Love locks into the truth and soars above the mountains, the valleys, the raging seas, and the storms of life. There will be mountain highs and valley lows in our lives. We will find ourselves on raging seas. Certainly all of us will experience storms in our lives. But love – God – locks into the truth of the Word and allows us to soar and never lose our altitude!
Our prayer is that we begin to get a deeper revelation of God’s unconditional, everlasting love! We love you so much – we appreciate your commitment to His love!
Together we really DO make the difference!