By CRAIG HARRIS
1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 (NIV): Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, 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. Love never fails.
We have to be careful not to confuse what true love is. We interchange fondness for love. We say we love something if we really like it. We think of love as a feeling, but true love is a verb. It is a deliberate act of the will. It is taking action.
So, true love is a Godly love. It is agape love in the Greek language. Notice that you can substitute Jesus' name for the word love in this passage. The more like Jesus we become, the more we will love.
A patient person will love people even though they are not perfect. True love is unconditional love. A kind person treats others how he would want to be treated - even if they don't deserve it. It does not envy, but is happy when others succeed. Love is humble, not a braggart. It is not proud. This doesn't mean you are not proud of your accomplishments and blessings, pride means you feel you don't need anyone. Rude people put down others, but love is kind.
Love is not self-seeking, but looks out for the needs of others above itself. Love puts others first. It isn't easily provoked to anger and doesn't hold a grudge when it is wronged. Instead it forgives. It wants what is best for everyone and rejoices when truth wins. Love sticks with it to the end. It is unconditional and never fails. It trusts and sees the best in others.
Achieving true love is not going to be easy, but it is our standard. It is our goal. It permeates everything. Someone said love makes the world go round and I'm beginning to see why.
Year one of Instant Message is now available for Kindle and Kindle apps. Go to www.instantmessagelive.com. Harris is the pastor at Brushy Creek and Mt. Vernon United Methodist Churches.