Week 39: Love



John 13: 34-35 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another

1 Corinthians 13:1-8 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but if I have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.Love never ends. 

Jesus tells us very clearly that we are to love one another. He says it here in John 13, as well as in the great commandment and several other places in the New Testament.  Now as Westerners, when we hear the word love, I think that we initially think about emotion. We hear the command to love one another as a command to feel positive emotions towards each other.

The problem is that in our culture the word love can mean so many things. We love God. And we love our kids. We love our spouse. And we love tacos. The good news is that when Jesus tells us to love one another, we don’t have to be confused about what He means. 1 Corinthians 13 tells us exactly what the Lord means when He tells us to love. 

Paul teaches on love in chapter 13 immediately following his discourse on the church being one body with many parts. You see love is like the motor oil that keeps the machine or the body running. Any time two parts come together, the heat will increase due to friction. Now in our churches and in our families, we are one body made up of many parts. And any time we constantly rub shoulders with other sinners like us, it can cause friction…and that friction can heat things up. Too much heat for too long, and the entire engine or body will shut down.

But when we love one another, we are able to rub shoulders and function as a well-oiled machine. As you look at the description of love in 1 Corinthians 13, let me ask you…how are you doing at loving one another? Are you patient and kind? Are you arrogant or rude? See arrogance is thinking that you are better than someone else. Rudeness is treating someone that way. Do you always have to get things your way? Do you insist on having the last word? Do those that live with you and work with you feel like they walk on egg shells around you? When you are a loving person, peace walks in the room with you. Is that true of you?

Now we could keep going and see how we measure up to this definition of love found in 1 Corinthians 13. And if you are like me, then it doesn’t take very long to realize that some serious changes need to be made. So, how do we become more loving? Is it just try harder? Is it all up to our personality types? Well, the good news is that all of us can be full of love because love is a fruit of the spirit. When you surrender your life to the Lordship of Christ, then you are filled with the Spirit of God. And the Holy Spirit produces some things in you and through you. And you guessed it, according to Galatians chapter 5, love bats lead off in the list of the fruit of the spirit. So this means that in order to grow in your ability to love one another, then you must deepen your relationship with Jesus Christ.