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Let us not become weary in doing
good, for at the proper time we will
reap a harvest if we do not give up.
(Galations 6:9)

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By Pat

One of the most well-known and oft-quoted passages of scripture in the entire Bible, in my opinion, is probably 1 Corinthians 13, in which the apostle Paul gives us a very concise and direct description of the word "love." As I recently read and re-read this beautiful chapter, which I have always been very fond of, I was happy to learn that I have done a lot of growing through the years of walking with the Lord, but appalled to discover what a long way I have to go to achieve true, Godly love. This is very disheartening to me. I had always thought of myself as a loving person, and I am; but unfortunately more on my own terms and conditions than God's.

First, are my motives always driven by love alone? When I do something kind for someone, do I want anything in return, or maybe seek a little pat on the back, or a little applause or glory? I have to admit, reluctantly, that I do like a little praise sometimes. Although I have grown and matured in my walk, I still have a long way to go. Paul clearly states in verses 1-3 that unless the things I say and do are said and done solely with love, I gain nothing. It's a disappointment in the only eyes that matter: God's. I must give and love expecting nothing in return. Otherwise, I am not exhibiting Godly love.

Next, verses 4-7 explain the qualities of love: kindness, patience, long-suffering (meaning without end). Love does not envy. It does not boast. It does not act rashly. It keeps no record of wrong (meaning I must not only forgive, I must FORGET). Wow! Again, I find that I fall short of what God requires of me. God says that no matter what injustices I see, or what wrongs against me I have endured, I must forget, not judge, and continue to love WITHOUT the expectation of receiving love in return. I have to love...period.  I must put self aside as Jesus did, and my only motive should be the desire to show the world what God looks like. I must conform to the very nature of God, which goes against my natural, human inclinations. I have to allow myself to be completely dependent on God to give me what I need so that I can be more like Him. I must pray for God to make my heart completely pure, for God's love is completely pure. I must love others as God loves me, no matter what is given back to me in return.

I cannot do this myself. None of us can. I must reject what the world defines as "love", and serve untiringly, love unselfishly, and give unendingly. And so I will strive harder and remember that, although I can't do this on my own, with God's help there is hope!

"I can do all things through him who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:13)

Pat is a good friend who is passionate about her faith and her family. She works from home supporting a family business, and loves to read, write and garden when she can, and spends every spare moment with her grandkids.

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