Love is daunting. It’s hard to know what the way of love always is, but we know that the call to love is the call to Christlikeness.
Amazingly, the Spirit of Christ dwells within Christians to enable this kind of loving life.
So let’s get after it:
Patient: It means it takes you a long time to get angry. You’re slow to take offense. Patience comes first in the list, and it’s so difficult in a Genesis 3 world. This is typically more a masculine issue, so guys, develop a slow-burning fuse.
Kind: Love has a readiness and instinct to do good to others. It’s been said of Thomas Cramner that, “To do him any wrong was to beget a kindness from him.” We could all be a little more like that.
Not jealous: There are some things love does not do. It doesn’t burn with envy, begrudging the joys and successes of others. It’s one thing to weep with those who weep, but it can be another thing to rejoice with those God seems to be blessing. That’s the call of love.
Not boastful: A loving person is not preoccupied with himself. Someone has said that “boasting is an advertisement for true spiritual poverty.” Be rich in love, boast in the Lord, and encourage others.
Not arrogant: Love does not draw attention to itself. We should seek to be faithful and let Jesus be famous, and make sure not to get those two things confused. Don’t go the way of Diotrephes, who liked “to put himself first” (3 John 9).
It doesn’t act unbecomingly: Love is tactful. It does the right thing, the right way, at the right time. Love isn’t rude, but predictably kind.
It doesn’t seek its own: Love is not selfish, but generous, giving until it hurts. And then it goes the extra mile. Love is a giver, not a taker.
Love is not provoked: Love doesn’t throw temper-tantrums or have thin skin. The loving person isn’t easily agitated, but has self-control.
This is the first eight of 15 items in Paul’s list. Take some time to digest these. Ask your spouse where you can grow. Ask your trusted allies where you can grow. Then ask the Lord to do it. God’s will for you is your sanctification, so put on love.
Also published on Medium.