Love is patient and is kind; love does not envy, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. (I Cor 13:4-8a)
In the month when Hallmark, florists, and the chocolate industry tell us what love is supposed to look like, I Corinthians calls Christians to daily live in love. So what exactly does this love look like? For starters, we must begin with the word “love” itself. In English it is a single word with a variety of uses. For example, with the same word we say we love our spouse, mom, kids, chocolate, and long walks on the beach. Do we really “love” them all the same? Of course not!
In the same way, we have one English word for “snow”, while Eskimos have dozens, depending on whether it is dry, wet, powdered, packed, blizzard,etc. In the Greek language, there are three main words to describe “love.” One type of love is that which is shared between friends and brothers. It is kind, serving, faithful and gentle, but it is not the type of love to which Christians are called to live each day. Of course, we are expected to show that kind of love toward one another, but God expects much more of us. The second Greek word for love describes the type of love a husband and wife display for one another. It is passionate, faithful, and unconditional. But again, it is not the type of love to which Christians are solely called to live and love each day. We are called to so much more!
The third word for “love”, which is the one that God expects Christians to live by, is the one that God uses to describe His own love for us. The word is agape, and it means unconditional, never-ending, all-powerful, forgiving, sacrificial, loyal, passionate, and compassionate love. God displays that kind of love toward us. We are expected to daily live out that kind of love toward God and toward each other. It should express itself in the way that I talk, the way I think, and the way I behave.
As we go through the “month of Love”, let’s compare our hearts to I Corinthians 13 and ask God to boost our agape and help us to love as He first loved us! Let’s agape each other more and more as we go through 2014 and watch what He does in and through us!