Thursday, February 12, 2015

Divine Valentine

February 12 

(1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV)  "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. {5} It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. {6} Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. {7} It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. {8} Love never fails." 

With Valentine’s Day just two days away, maybe it’s a good time to take a look at love. Regardless of what the advertisers tell us, true love is not found in roses or chocolates. True love is found in hearts that know how to love. 

When one looks at 1st Corinthians 13, we see a checklist for determining the quality and depth of genuine love. Paul lists 16 characteristics that should be present in our love for one another. These 16 traits of biblical love also make a good personal evaluation. They can help us see how well we are doing in loving. They can also make a good pre-marital checklist for couples considering marriage.  

Here’s how the love test works. According to 1st Corinthians 13, the word love will fit in every blank below. But the question is… will your name fit in the blanks? If these traits are the definition of love, and we are loving as we should... then we could place our name where the word love would normally go. See how many blanks you can honestly write your name into. And remember, this is a test, so be honest with yourself. It won’t help to fudge your answers. Tell the truth. 

1. _________________________ is patient.

2. _________________________ is kind.

3. _________________________ does not envy.

4. _________________________ does not boast.

5. _________________________ is not proud.

6. _________________________ is not rude.

7. _________________________ is not self seeking.

8. _________________________ is not easily angered.

9. _________________________ keeps no record of wrongs.

10. ________________________ does not delight in evil.

11. ________________________ rejoices with the truth.

12. ________________________ always protects.

13. ________________________ always trusts.

14. ________________________ always hopes.

15. ________________________ always perseveres.

16. ________________________ never fails.  

How did you do? OUCH? Me too! But take heart... nobody will be perfect here. Most of us have a lot of work to do. None of us are probably as far along in this area as we would like to be. So don’t feel defeated... instead, feel motivated. Those lines where you can’t sign your name with integrity should become growth points, not sore points. 

You will need God's grace and God's help to accomplish this. One of the main ingredients we need for producing genuine love is Jesus. Do you have the Lord in your life? One of the greatest Valentine’s Day gifts you can give yourself and others is to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior. Only he can change our hearts so that we want to get better and better at the “love test” above. He not only gives us the tools, he gives us the desire.   

So take the love test. Then praise God for the love traits you already have, and ask for his help in those areas where you fall short. Remember, learning to love is like learning to live… it takes time and you should get better at it as you age. Never quit growing and never quit loving.  

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