Love Never Stops

by Laura Courtney
We are wrapping up our summer looking at the characteristics of love from Paul in 1 Corinthians 13 (verses 4-7).

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.

This is quite an extensive list. To ask where you need to grow is a little rhetorical because we all need to continue to grow in all these areas. Perhaps we are better in one or two of these areas most of the time, or it is easier to control some of these characteristics within ourselves usually, but overall we are human and thus prone to selfish and broken ways.

We need to constantly be striving to better ourselves in all these areas. That may seem like an impossible task, but if we continually fix our eyes on Christ we will always have a clear course marked out for us.

I think its interesting that this list starts out somewhat easy or at least in a way where we can say, “yeah I can try to be more patient, or more kind.” But as we work on bettering ourselves and our actions of love in each of these characteristics, we will continue to meet more and more difficult characteristics within ourselves that we must overcome to love more like Christ. One can attempt to be more patient, but it can be harder to catch oneself being envious, or harder to control envious thoughts perhaps. And then still to not be self-seeking, or to not be easily angered. Finally we are tasked to the “always” clauses which undoubtedly we will struggle to always do.

But the more and more we continually focus on these characteristics, and the more we try and try and try, even after failing and falling short in between each attempt, the closer to grow to Christ and the closer we grow to a peace and joy that points others to Him too.

Because ultimately this list is not for our own end. Its not a checklist to get into Heaven. It’s not our report card by which God grades us each year. It is instead a collaborative embodiment that demonstrates the love of Christ to others. That when we are more patient, more kind, less self-seeking, unendingly hopeful and unwavering in our perseverance – that is what sets us apart. That is what exemplifies that we belong to a Kingdom that is not of this world, and that cannot be shaken by the whims of political powers and earthly authorities.

We love through it all because God loved us through it all. Despite our sin, our guilt, our shame, and our evil ways, He gave His all that we might have new and endless life in Him. May we seek to live our lives worthy of that sacrifice and as ambassadors of a King who loves unconditionally. Let us continually strive to never cease growing in love just as His love is so endless.
“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations…” (Deuteronomy 7:9)

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