Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; [b]bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.

I’m not sure if I’ve attended a wedding without this verse being referenced, quoted or sung.  We all want love.  Now you’re singing with the Beatles.

We enjoy it when we feel it, and possibly more when we give it.  It’s amazing how practical it is.  I’m glad Paul, in 1 Corinthians clearly defines what it is.  In a culture that emphasizes emotion over substance, we can quickly forget the powerful nature of true love.

I’ve been thinking all week about verse 7.  Love does four things in that one verse that speaks to the motivations of our hearts:

1. Bears all things.  We carry each others burdens.  We put up with each others weaknesses, and choose to focus on the commonality, and attractiveness of our various strengths.  Ultimately Jesus carried us, representing human kind, you and me, on the cross.

2. Believes all things.  I love this about biblical, real love.  Love wants to see your friend free, at liberty in Christ, unchained and living with joy.  Love believes the best about someone’s motives, rallies behind them and supports.  Love is a posture of good intention, wanting God’s ultimate best for your neighbor.

3. Hopes all things.  Because Jesus rose from the grave, we have a living hope.  Our hope is eternal, fixed on the power and unchanging nature of our loving God.  This hope changes us, and begins to shape how we see our circumstances.  We don’t deny this world is full of peril, misunderstanding, sin and darkness.  However, we see through it as temporary, and rejoice that God, even now, reigns.  Biblical love hopes, and doesn’t get loss in worry.

4. Endures all things.  We are called upon, at certain times in our lives, to endure hardships.  Perseverance speaks of pushing against an obstacle or opposing force.  I’m glad to know there is a love that doesn’t give up.  We have been loved with this perfect love.  It’s a love that has endured through generations, and will continue to through all of eternity.  We are called to tap into this enduring love, to press on and love others this way.

Love bears, believes, hopes and endures.  Lastly, it never fails.

My love, at times, has failed.  I have demonstrated all too often a love that has quickly given up and quit hoping.  I’m asking God to change me.  To pursue with more intention, to speak the truth in love, and fear less about the consequences.  To fear God in my love, more than the reaction of man.  We can live at peace with folks, and never love them.  Sometimes love can really hurt – but it never fails.

To love well, I think we must know Christ well.  Abide in Him, and Him in you.  You may not feel lovable, you may feel unworthy, those are simply Satan’s lies.  The love of God for you has been shown on the Cross.  Focus there, start there, get to know this love by acknowledging your weakness and inability to please Him in the flesh.  Come as a sinner, come as the hurting, come as the tired, just come.

Hey I’m going to pray now, want to pray with me?

“Father God, teach me to love.  Give us grace to embrace the ‘not to easy’ parts of love.  To reach out, care, and put myself in more vulnerable places.  Let your love work in me, and through me today.  Help me to bear more burdens, and faithfully bring them to you.  Help me to receive your perfect love, casting out all fear.   Through Jesus your exalted Son,

– amen