The picture of genuine love.
I live in a part of the world that does not trust the words of the Bible. I wanted to have an art piece with Scripture in my living room to draw people to the beauty and life that the Bible offers, to prove to them that the Bible is indeed true. I ended up penning the words of the “Love Chapter” in 1 Corinthians 13 on colorful canvases. I chose those words because I know that every person on this planet hungers for that kind of love.
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
As my friends read this passage they are always stunned by it’s beauty. I can see in their eyes, if only for a moment, that their hearts have been stirred. Afterwards, I begin to tell them that every human wants to be loved just like that. I tell them that kind of love is available from God. God perfectly loves. God is patient and kind with us. God is not boastful or proud or rude to us. God is not irritated with us. God does not keep score of our wrongs.
The beauty of the passage does not end with God’s perfect love to us. Seeing it so often in my living room, the Spirit checks my heart to see if I am following God’s example of love. Was I patient with my friend? Was I kind to the irritating child? Why am I still keeping a record of how I have been wronged by that person?
“We love each other because he loved us first.”
1 John 4:19
We all want to receive this kind of love but we are slow to give it. In order to love well, we must look back to how Jesus loved. As 1 John 3:16 says, Jesus gave his life for us so we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.
How are you in regards to loving and being loved? Have you truly experienced this perfect love of God? Perhaps you can’t love because you have never experienced love that would give it’s life for another. Perhaps you have forgotten the beautiful love displayed on the cross. If you have experienced this love, are you allowing his love to drive you to love others or are you withholding it from others. Genuine love towards others will require you to lay down your life in some way. In order to genuinely love, we must keep our eyes on Jesus and remember how he loved us.
Pray: God thank you for your beautiful and perfect love displayed on the cross. I confess that I find it hard to love like you do. Help me remember what Jesus has done for me and let that fuel my love for others.
C. Smith became a member of the River in 2006 and very quickly began volunteering in a variety of ministries. A little over three years ago, she moved to Central Asia. These days she enjoys the Central Asian communal aspect of sipping tea while having good, long conversations with friends. You can read more about her adventures at https://lookingforthegreenergrass