1 Corinthians 13 (GNB)
What words do you use to wish folk at this time of the year?
Compliments of the season? Happy New Year? Every blessing for the new year?
Though traditional at this time of the year, these formal greetings may often lack sincerity.
So then, what shall I wish you for 2023?
While preparing this blog the words of a Frank Sinatra song came to mind, particularly the phrase. I wish you love.
On this our first week of the New Year, I wish you love.
1. I WISH YOU GOD’S LOVE.
The Apostle John tells us that the chief characteristic of God is love. (1 John 4:16)
Are we able to love without God’s help?
Max Lucado comments, “Oh, we may succeed for a time…But our relationships need more than a social gesture. Some of our spouses need a foot washing. A few of our friends need a flood of tears. Our children need to be covered in the oil of our love…..We need help from an outside source……We start by receiving God’s love. (Max Lucado –‘Cast of Characters’ p 25)
The God of love loves you. Have you responded to His love by opening your life to His Son, Jesus Christ?
Is Jesus perhaps asking you the same question He asked Peter centuries ago, “Do you truly love me?” (John 21:15-17)
I wish you a greater awareness of God’s amazing love for you during 2023 and that your love for Him will continue to grow.
2. I WISH YOU HUMAN LOVE.
What words would you use to define our love for one another’?
Tenderness, affection, attraction, cherish, value, treasure, passion, worship?
Victor Hugo wrote, “The Greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved, loved for ourselves, or rather loved in spite of ourselves.” (Victor Hugo – Les Miserables Sourcebook for Speakers – Doan – page 248)
A man and a woman had been corresponding via the internet, and fell in love. They agreed to meet at a particular airport. Because they had never seen one another, they came up with a plan that would help them to recognize each other. She would wear a green scarf, a green hat and have a carnation pinned to her coat.
When the man got off his plane, he immediately looked for her. Then he saw a woman with a green scarf, a green hat and a carnation – he was disappointed – she was one of the plainest looking women he had ever seen in his life. He was tempted to get back on the plane without speaking to her.
But, he conquered his feelings and walked over to this woman, smiled and introduced himself.
Puzzled, the woman said: “What is this all about, anyway? I don’t know you!” She went on to explain: “That woman over there gave me $5, 00 to wear these things.”
When the man looked over at the woman mentioned, she was one of the most beautiful women he had ever seen.
The man approached the woman who later explained, “All my life men have wanted to be with me, to be my friend, because of my beauty. I want someone to love me, not just for my outward appearance, but for what I am inside!
I wish you will experience the sincere love of others this year.
3. I WISH YOU TRUE LOVE
Paul describes this gem of true love in 1 Corinthians 13 by examining its various facets.
In the first three verses Paul points out that love is recognized by what we are, more than by what we do:
But Paul then he gets down to the qualities of true love:
- Love is patient and kind.
- It is not jealous, or conceited or proud;
- Love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable;
- Love does not keep a record of wrongs;
- Love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth;
- Love never gives up;
- And its faith, hope and patience never fail.
- Love is eternal. (1 Corinthians 13: 1-8)
Replace the word love with your own name and you soon realize that this is a standard that no one except Christ can meet, because none of these facets of love come naturally to us.
However in another of his letters Paul points out that love is one of the fruits of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22, 23)
So my wish for you is that you will allow the Holy Spirit to grow in you the facets of true love.
4. I WISH YOU’LL GIVE LOVE AWAY.
Oscar Hammerstein taught the great Broadway musical star, Mary Martin a lesson in love when he told her: Love isn’t love ’till you give it away.
Love isn’t love ’till you give it away.
Think of someone close to you – your marriage partner, a child, parent, friend, neighbour, fellow staff member. Then ask yourself this question, how can I do a better job of showing love to this person? Make a list of the things you could possibly do to show your love for this person. Before the end of this week, begin doing a least one of the things you wrote on your list.
Jesus said, “whenever you do it for any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for me.’ (Matthew 25:40)
See what a difference Jesus makes in and through you during 2023.
God is love.
God loves us in spite of all our faults and flaws – enough to send His Son to die to save us.
The only acceptable response to God’s amazing love is for us to give our lives to Jesus.
In return for our commitment to Jesus, the Holy Spirit sows God’s love into our hearts.
But love is not love till you give it away.
If you haven’t been following this series, you might like to take a look at the other posts.
P.S. I am taking a break from this blog for the time being as I seek the Lord’s guidance on what topic to tackle. I welcome your comments on whether this blog has been helpful to you or not. Rob