Posted by Communitas

By: Paul Anderson

“…is love sweet love.” Sweet love won’t do it. Try agape. But that messes with the meter.

The Corinthian charismatics needed agape. Rival factions vied for control. They couldn’t stop fighting, even going to court. Love feasts turned sour. Gifts without fruit means flying with one wing—and crashing.

Paul address pastoral issues, then answers inquiries, now on spiritual gifts. He answers abuse with proper use. Love undergirds everything.

“And now I will show you a way that surpasses all others.” They had the gifts, but they were toys, not tools. They were toddlers fighting each other. People watching them said, “I don’t know what you’ve, but I hope I don’t catch it.” Paul is not contrasting fruit with gifts. He is saying, “Love is the only way the gifts operate. Agape: Self-less love, other-directed, demonstrated at the cross.

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal” (I Cor. 13:1). Knowing all mysteries and knowledge would come in handy. Not without love.

Then mountain-moving faith. Miracles along the trail. Sacrificial giving. What mercy! People willing to die for the faith. It profits me nothing without love.

Love is patient. These are verbs, fifteen of them; not one adjective. Love is an action, not a feeling. We move love from theories to the real.

We can measure the level of our love by the level of our willingness to suffer: “Love is longsuffering” (KJV). Better to suffer than cause someone else. That’s what Jesus did, so you can too!

Love is kind. Jesus put a face on God, a face of kindness. “God is kind to the ungrateful and wicked” (Luke 6:35). How would I treat those who cursed me? I’d say, “No rain for you today.” The Holy Spirit can make us kind even with people who are not kind to us.

Love does not envy. Eight negatives follow the two positives. Love wants others to outdo us. How Christ-like!

It does not boast, it is not proud. Humble people are easy to be around. Humility enhances unity. We need a big heart, not a big head. That is the mind of Christ—and you have it.

It is not rude. How easily unedited words can bruise. Let’s watch our manners. Jesus is not rude.

It is not self-seeking. When we play the victim, it is all about us. Dying reverses that and makes others more important. Because of Jesus’ death, you are good at it.

It is not easily angered. A friend said, “Just so you know, Paul, it is almost impossible to offend me.” I want to live like that. I once when I went from 1 to 7 in about two seconds, I understood the phrase “not easily angered.” I want to be sssssssssslow—just like Jesus.

It keeps no record of wrongs. Paul had a scorecard, and a good score. When he threw it away, he found living by grace satisfying. Want to toss the scorecard?

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. Let’s rejoice with every advancement of others, not guard self with defensiveness.

Love always protects. You feel safe around true lovers.
Love always trusts. It’s a good feeling to be trusted. You can put the best construction on others.
Love always hopes. We need an anchor. People who give us hope enable us to get through storms.
Love always perseveres. Love makes us fight for people.
Love never fails. If you don’t know what to do, love will tell you. It’s failure-proof.

Gifts are temporary. Love travels with us to the new earth.