“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, 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. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a)
Love is a word we use in a lot of ways. We love our favorite foods, we love our possessions, we love our pets, we love our hobbies, we love our family and friends. But the kind of love described in 1 Corinthians 13 is a type of love that is rarely realized in our lives. It is the type of love with which God loves us. It is the type of love that God wants us to experience and share with others.
In February, we consider what love truly is and how we can express our love to one another. Spend some time this month contemplating the depth of God’s love for you. He sent His son Jesus to earth as the greatest expression of sacrificial love. Jesus willingly laid down his life to atone for our sins. That’s a love worth seeking.
Love is not a feeling, it’s a verb. True love is not conditional, it is a choice. The more we experience the unconditional love of God, the more we understand what love really is. It is not selfish or manipulative. It puts the needs of others in first place.
The context of this passage is the topic of spiritual gifts. What Paul is saying is basically that love is the highest and most important spiritual gift of all. In fact, he says that without love, none of the other spiritual gifts have any significance. This is similar to what Jesus says concerning the greatest commandment: that it is to love God and to love your neighbor.
We are called to seek God’s love above all else. There is so much more to love than we currently understand, but it is definitely worth seeking. Love cannot be adequately explained with words, but it can be discovered by seeking God with all your heart and mind and soul. May God’s love for you be experienced more deeply and may you find ways to express God’s love for others through your words and actions as you seek and fulfill God’s will for your life.