Love: there is so much to say, and if we took the time to devote a few articles. The first observation that the child of God can make is that love is the greatest thing 1 , the most important. If it is so important, it must be the object of our research and our prayers. As soon as we take a step towards Love, we quickly understand that we have to revisit our definition of this word because our language associates it with too many things. Love, the action that flows from love, can be associated with objects such as a car, a table or a fruit. Love can be associated with more subtle things like a movie or a novel, where it is the story told that we liked; but to love can be directed towards beings, people ... To understand what is the love and to love, it is necessary to turn towards the One who is Love! See what He says in His Word and also consider how He behaves in His actions. The only reliable, immutable and true model is God, our Creator.
Ephesians 1: 4 and 5 - Before the creation of the world, God had already chosen us to be His by Christ, that we might be holy and flawless in His sight. In his love, God had decided in advance that he would make us his children through Jesus Christ; in his benevolence, that's what he wanted.
Love is an integral part of the person of God, it is his very nature. If God did not exist, there would be no love. Often for us, love is the consequence of an impulse caused by a feeling but God does not need that. He likes even if there is nothing to love. His love is unconditional and eternal, he does not fluctuate with feelings and even when He exercises His righteousness, He is not affected by negative feelings.
Long before the foundation of the world, as He knows all things because He is timeless, He had already decided to love.And yes, the love God has for us is a well-considered decision, that's why he's so stable. The instability of love exists when it is fueled by passion, because passion cools over time but when it is the result of a voluntary decision, it passes the test of time. What I want to remember is that to practice the "loving one another" that God asks of us, I must first make a firm decision to love.
1 Corinthians 12.31 - Thus, desire the most important gifts. But I will show you now the path that is superior to everything.
After understanding that God is "Love", we are drawn to the magnificent picture that the Apostle Paul makes in 1 Corinthians 13. A true poem, probably a song of the early Church at the origin, the apostle introduces him by saying that it is the path superior to everything. The first verses of this chapter show the uselessness of our actions, even to the point of sacrificing our lives, if our motivation is not love. In ancient Greek, there were three words to talk about love: "eros" that we could translate as "making love", we do not find it in the Bible. It is about physical love, sometimes with desire and lust."Philéo", which refers to the love-friendship between two human beings, could be translated as: "I love you, I have affection for you". Finally, the most ultimate, the one used in chapter 13: "agapê" which designates the fundamental Christian virtue, spiritual and divine love, love with a great A. The definition of love according to God is much higher than our society knows.
1 Corinthians 13.4 - He who loves is patient, he knows how to wait ...
I use Living Word (de Kuen) for this text, other more classic translations say love is patient ... It's amazing that the apostle begins the description of love in this way, he could have talk about feeling or emotion but no, the characteristic of the love he puts first is patience. Moreover, in the Greek original, there is the notion of waiting in suffering, so to endure, to endure ... Let it be said, whoever has decided to love makes the decision to suffer. This suffering is often involuntary on the part of the person who provokes it, but since he is a loved one, what he says or does takes on a special dimension.
Patience is necessary for the fruit of love to mature. The one who loves will wait and have a deep respect for the other, the parent will wait until the whims of childhood disappear in his child, the members of the couple will support each other until the differences of character fade. This also gives us the notion that love needs to grow, so time and conditions to expand and take root. In a century when everything goes so fast, the virtue of the patient seems so derisory, would not it be that love has become illusory?
1 Corinthians 13.4 - He who loves ... his heart is wide open to others. He is helpful, full of kindness and kindness; he seeks to be constructive and enjoys doing good to others.
The second characteristic of God's love is goodness. As our text defines it so well, to be good is to be open to others. When someone talks to me about openness, I immediately think of someone who is welcoming, receptive, tolerant; an open mind is not limited, it is in search of learning, of receiving others. Goodness always seeks the good of the other, it is not just avoiding hurting, it is "digging your brains" to find what will be good for the other, who will flourish and encourage it. There is also this notion of benevolence, paternal and protective, refuge in case of difficulty. I like this proverb that says: "What makes a man's charm is his kindness" 2 . Kindness gives beauty to man, a real beauty, not plastic. Finally, goodness is not laxity. The notion of "good God" has passed into common thought, certainly God is good, but He is not weak and senile to the point of accepting everything; his goodness will only reach those who seek him.
1 Corinthians 13.4 - True love is not possessive, it does not seek to monopolize, it is free from all envy, it does not know jealousy.
We continue our journey in this wonderful text. After declaring that Love is patient and good, the Apostle Paul takes the negative form to say that he is not envious. Do you know that envy is one of the seven deadly sins defined by Thomas Aquinas. Envy, fueled by jealousy, is a power of destruction that is the cause of much suffering. It pushes to grab by cunning or force what is to others, to own things or even people. She is insatiable, she is never satisfied. Always more is his master word, burning like a fire in the heart. She pushed Cain to kill Abel, David to adultery and murder, the religious leaders condemned to death the Lord Jesus ... Love is the opposite! He does not want to possess, he gives, he does not grab, he welcomes, he focuses his affection on what he has and not on the neighbor's having. We should never say "I want" but rather "I want". How many times have we frustrated the Lord with a "I do not feel like"? Kuen also translates that love does not know jealousy yet Exodus 34:14 says that God is jealous. How to explain that, and if we talked about it in the next article!
1 Corinthians 13: 13-2 Proverbs 19:22
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