I Corinthians 13
If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
Chapter 13 of I Corinthians describes a holy love called agape.
The essence of agape love is goodwill, benevolence, and willful delight in the object of love. Unlike our English word love, agape is not used in the New Testament to refer to romantic or sexual love. Nor does it refer to close friendship or brotherly love, for which the Greek word philia is used. Agape love involves faithfulness, commitment, and an act of the will. It is distinguished from the other types of love by its lofty moral nature and strong character. (http://www.gotquestions.org/agape-love.html)
The most brilliant, talented, or gifted human being you know or admire without commitment, faithfulness, and an act of will to embrace and practice the love of God for man and of man for God is a “noisy” individual. The kind of noise that is described as a cacophony or irritant. Perhaps we can dismiss this lack in others, but over time as you journey with God, you find yourself understanding more and more what this verse is declaring. You desire this love within in you. Perhaps you requested this to be read on your wedding day? The misty eyed bride and proud groom stood side by side announced that their marriage relationship would put into practice this Holy, Godly love. Friendship love surrounds them, the honeymoon night will come and their “Eros” love–sexual love, will culminate a beautiful day.
Years go by, and marriage relationships will face the inevitable trials and temptations. Children grow up, and in finding their way, make decisions that were not written in your story book. Aging parents are cared for, jobs come and go, and your love story is played out year after year.
The greatest love is an act of will to choose agape. It’s a commitment or act of will to forgive daily, to extend yourself in situations that most would ignore, ridicule, or chastise; yet, you choose to work at the relationship. Today, how can I act on this Holy commitment. It is within our communion with God, that He gives us the grace and strength to act on this commitment.
- It’s Jesus bending down to engage with the prostitute.
- It’s God sending His Son as a little baby to save us–redeem us.
- It’s the mother hugging her angry child.
- It’s the husband actively loving his despondent wife.
- It’s the wife walking the journey of her husband’s addiction, and choosing to love, and forgive.
- It’s the caretaker listening despite their hurts and fears.
- It’s a friend who chooses to understand the reason behind the hurtful words, and seeks to understand.
- It’s the soldier serving his country and fighting for freedom for unborn children.
God calls us to choose joy and to love in the midst of the hard–the changes. What if God put us on hold until we figured things out? He loves us despite ourselves, and asks us, in return, to shower that same love on those He has put in our lives. Maybe you are very busy serving and doing, but God is asking you a heart and soul question. “Do you love?” If not, your acts and works are noisy. It’s a noise that mostly troubles you–your soul work. God can heal and restore.
Today, Lord, Jesus, help me to “willfully delight” in those whom You have called me to serve and love. Thank you Jesus for delighting in me. May I start there–Your love for me. Jesus I know you can heal and show us how to “willfully delight”. Amen