So here we are – another Valentine’s Day. Whether you love this day or hate it, we can all learn a few things about love from God’s Word.
If you’ve been to a wedding or even at your wedding, you’ve probably heard 1 Corinthians 13—the famous love passage. Many of us tune out because we’ve heard this passage so many times. Instead of tuning out, I’m trying to tune in and learn from these verses. What I want to do in this short post is share three lessons I’m learning from this beautiful passage on love.
We use the word “love” all the time. I love college football. I love coffee. And I really love the TV show This Is Us. In the New Testament, we see the word love used in four different ways.
- Phileo Love: Friendly love. The kind of love that’s sponsoring your Galentine’s Dinner or whatever it is boys do when they don’t have plans.
- Storge Love: Empathetic love. (Pronounced “stor-gay”) This is the type of love that helps you relate to people.
- Eros Love: Romantic love. No explanation needed.
- Agape Love: God’s love.
In 1 Corinthians, Paul writes to the church in Corinth to a group of people who needed to learn more about the love of God (agape love). In 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, Paul writes:
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.
I’ve read this passage a bunch of times over the past few weeks. Here are three great lessons we can all learn from Paul’s words:
Love is kind.
Sometimes I’m not kind in the words I say or the way I say them. A few weeks ago I was convicted about my lack of kindness as I studied the book of Romans. In Romans 2:4, Paul writes, “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?” To repent means to change your mind about sin and change your actions accordingly.
For example, let’s say I look at porn on a regular basis. If I repent in a battle with porn, it means I acknowledge the sin and change my actions. I no longer look at porn and do all I can to get rid of temptations that might lead me to look at porn.
Paul says it’s the kindness of God that leads me to repent and change my ways. As a follower of Christ, I should model the kindness of God towards others. Is my love towards my wife, kids, friends, and neighbors marked by kindness?
Questions: How can you be more kind to your spouse and others around you? What’s one thing you could do to show more kindness to those who matter most to you?
Love is not self-seeking.
This might be my least favorite part of this passage. If I get around to writing a second book, I’m planning to write about selfishness in marriage. The reason we fight and quarrel is because of selfish desires that wage war within us (James 4:1).
When I’m selfish, I think of my own needs before my spouse. I put my needs first and her desires second. I think of myself and don’t consider what might best help Kristen. For example, I take the bigger bowl of ice cream, the better seat on the couch, and sit on my butt while she washes dishes or finishes the laundry.
Christ-like, selfless love, on the other hand, puts Kristen’s needs before my own. It does not seek Scott’s best, but God’s best and Kristen’s best. God’s love for us is selfless. If you don’t know why, please read Philippians 2:5-11.
Questions: Where are your relationships marked by selfishness? What can you do to put the needs of others before yourself?
Love keeps no record of wrongs.
When I was growing up, I loved keeping score at baseball games. As an adult, I like keeping stats at my son’s basketball games. Keeping score at sports games is fun for me.
Keeping score in marriage is not nearly as fun. And it’s the opposite of the Gospel and of what God calls us to in marriage.
The Gospel – It’s a good thing God doesn’t keep score against us. If He did, we wouldn’t have a chance (i.e., For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23). Instead of keeping track of our sin score, God cleans the slate through Jesus’ work on the cross.
Marriage – Loves keeps no record of wrongs. In spite of our tendency to keep a list of all the right we’ve done and all the wrong our spouse has done, Paul challenges us, in love, to keep no list of the wrong our spouse has done. Rather, keep a list of all the good they do. Love keeps no record of wrongs.
Questions: Are you keeping score in your marriage? Do you have a list of all the right you’ve done and all the wrong your spouse has done? If so, tear that list up!
1 Corinthians 13 is a rich passage, filled with powerful ways to exemplify God’s love towards us. Celebrate your Valentine’s Day by studying and applying these lessons (and any others) from 1 Corinthians 13.
This post originally appeared on ScottKedersha.com and was republished with permission.
Scott Kedersha is the director of premarital and newly married ministries at Watermark Community Church in Dallas, TX. He’s a loyal husband and father to four boys.