The Holy Spirit’s gift of love is absolutely the most precious gift you can give to your children. It is the gift your children need to thrive. But be aware; it will cost much more than any gift your can purchase. Giving the Holy Spirit’s gift of love will cost you your life. Here is what loving God’s way looks like from I Corinthians 13:4-7:
Love is patient
Do you listen before you speak? Are you eager to give your time to your wife or husband? Do your children know that you have time to learn about even the smallest details of their lives?
Love is kind
Does your family experience more of your disinterest and frustration than your kindness? Are you words pleasant? Do you gladly give up your time to do the things that matter to the people you love?
Love is not proud
Pride lurks in the background of your mind ready to spring at the first available opportunity. Are you frustrated that your family doesn’t appreciate you? Are you frequently irritated with others in your family? If so, pride is at work.
Love is not self-seeking
Love is not about you. Love is about showing God’s love, regardless of the price to you. If you believe you are always unfairly treated and that you are not respected enough, you run the risk of seeking your own good at the expense of others.
Love is not easily angered
How easy is it for you to become angry? Be honest! If you are easily angered, you have lost sight of what it means to follow Christ. You have exchanged God’s gift of love for self-pity. Suppose God were to become angry at you as easily as you become angry with those closest to you?
Love keeps no record of wrongs
Are you often thinking about how everyone else needs to do more and better? Are things you are frustrated about always on the tip of your tongue? Think about how you present yourself to your family. Would you be happy if you were constantly reminded of your daily failures?
Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices in truth
Faithful instruction and correction can easily be misunderstood. Since disciplined training in righteousness must be thorough and ongoing, a child may think that the only purpose a parent has is to delight in telling her she is wrong. You don’t have the option to stop discipline, but you do have the option to parent with love and joy as you lead your children to Christ.
These principles also apply to how husbands and wives interact. Too often couples take seeming delight in pointing out the faults of the other.
You cannot be biblical parents and spouses in your own strength.
Love always protects
There are four powerful admonitions in verse 7 of this chapter. Providing biblical encouragement and direction to your children is protection for them. All of us respond well to situations where we are protected, trusted, embraced with hope, and where personal commitment to us is enduring. And this is exactly what the Holy Spirit says love is:
Love bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things.
This creates the environment in which your children will flourish. These four directives provide the climate to powerfully present the gospel to your children.
The Holy Spirit’s words in I Corinthians 13 are challenging and worthy of your thought and meditation. These verses remind you that you cannot be biblical parents and spouses in your own strength – you must have the power of Christ to accomplish the Spirit’s call to love your family.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, 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. I Cor. 13:4-7