I remember our wedding day like it was yesterday.
It was near 100 degrees in Charlottesville, VA and thankfully the power was restored at our reception shortly after a summer thunderstorm and the dancing had already begun.
During the ceremony, our friend Deirdre read these common words from the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthians:
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)
You may have had the same words read at your wedding ceremony.
I remember thinking as a newlywed, I can be those things for my wife.
Most of the time.
If I try really hard.
Now looking back and taking this Full-Time Christianity journey this past year, I’ve come to realize …
I am honestly none of those things.
I’m not really patient.
I envy other people’s success.
I’m easily angered.
I don’t always trust.
Ok, you get the idea.
I had love all backwards.
I believed I could be those things if I worked hard enough at it.
Apostle Paul’s Other Remarks
While 1 Corinthians 13 may be the most quoted chapter in all the Epistles, Paul’s message is clear:
Man’s nature is sinful.
Always has been. Always will be.
Consider Paul’s words to the Galatians:
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh.
The Apostle then adds:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5: 22-23)
Coming back to 1 Corinthians 13, it is interesting to note the very next words of Paul at the start of Chapter 14:
“Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit”
In other words, seek the gift of love from the Holy Spirit because you don’t naturally have it.
Love is indeed those fifteen characteristics noted in 1 Corinthians 13.
But we have love backwards if we think we have the power to produce it naturally.
It is by the power of the Holy Spirit that produces love through us and for others.
What is your specific experience or memory with 1 Corinthians 13 (aka the “Love Is” verse)?
(Note to blog visitors: When you subscribe to this blog for free, you will receive a personalized email with your name inserted into 1 Corinthians 13 at every instance of the word Love. An example is noted here. It changed my outlook on life when I did it. You can unsubscribe with one click afterwards if you’d like, but it’s worth seeing in your email inbox for personal reflection.)
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