Thursday, April 7, 2011

Love Like This!

As part of my study of The First and Second Letters of Peter (New Testament, Bible), I read and reflected on the famous love passage in I Corinthians Chapter 13.  John MacArthur, the author of the study guide I am using, writes that we are to love other members of Christ's body, his church, like this!  Reading the passage made me realize that it is hard for me to love myself or even my own family like this, so how could I love others?  Listing the attributes of love seemed like a good way to start working on developing this kind of love and so here they are: The 16 attributes of love, according to the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 13: 4-8.

1) is patient,
2) is kind,
3) does not envy,
4) does not boast,  
5) is not proud,
6) is not rude,
7) is not self-seeking,
8) is not easily angered,
9) keeps no record of wrongs,
10) does not delight in evil,
11) rejoices with the truth,
12) always protects,
13) always trusts,
14) always hopes,
15) always perseveres,
16) never fails.

Can I love like this? I realized (after trying for many years and having failed) that I cannot love like this in my own strength. Even maternal and romantic loves are transactional (you do this for me and I'll do this for you), selfish (we can sometimes try to realize our losses and dreams vicariously through our kids or spouses or even god friends), and is not like this forever (we get fed up, lose our patience, become bored at some point). But there is one scenario, I found, when love like this came to live in my heart. I am able to love like this (not 100% perfectly but much much more than before) when Jesus Christ lives in my heart, the Holy Spirit guides my every breath and thought, and I am totally surrendered to God.

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