Love according to the dictionary is defined as an intense feeling of deep affection and/or a great interest and pleasure in something. Therefore with this definition the word “ love” becomes interchangeable from “I love coffee, chocolate, and Taco Bell” to “I love Jesus, my spouse, and my children.” This word seems to fit better in one sentence over the other because when you really dig into the word “love” it holds power, a power that goes beyond food or materialistic things. In fact when the Bible uses the word love it is referring to one of four types: Eros—a sensual or romantic love, Storge—a family love, Philia—brotherly love or a deep bond between friends, and Agape—the highest form of love, as it is perfect, unconditional, sacrificial, and pure, the only kind of love that comes from God.
As you can see no matter what form of love the Bible is referring to each one consists of a deep, heart-to-heart, connection between two people. The only way we can fully love is through the source Himself as 1 John 4:16b-17a states, “ God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect.” How do we live in the fullness of love? How can we love others, especially our spouse well? Thankfully God’s word breaks it down for us by taking us through the basics of how God loves us and how we should love others in 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7.
Love is Patient
The simple version of what patience means is being happy while you wait. However it goes deeper than that as patience is grace-filled, it offers self-restraint in the midst of offenses and endures during hardship. It is considerate and calm. When something frustrating occurs it looks to the positive rather than the negative and it encourages instead of criticizing. Patience is long-suffering, unshakeable, and requires a mindset shift.
Love is Kind
Being kind is having tender and gentle words and ways toward others. Kindness is setting aside selfishness and choosing to put another needs before your own. It chooses to be thoughtful of how to respond in actions and words. It speaks life and what is good even in the face of adversary. However kindness is different than being nice. As nice has a selfish undertone of wanting to look good by being polite; while being kind is other-centered, mindful of another’s well being, and seeks to lift another up.
Love is not jealous
The best way to understand this concept is by first knowing what envy and covet means. Envy is defined as having a feeling of discontented or resentful longing for someone else’s possessions, qualities, or status; while covet means to yearn, wish, long for, or crave something that belongs to someone else. Both of these words speak to discontentment and have a selfish motive. Therefore love does not compare or compete instead it appreciates another person for who they are and shows admiration.
Love is not boastful or proud
Being boastful consists of vainly bragging about self. It seeks validation and the approval of others. Therefore love does not embellish or try to be center stage rather it allows the facts to speak for themselves. Bragging is often times a form of manipulation as it desires to get out of it what you want to hear. Love is also not proud, arrogant, or prideful rather it is humble and thinks more highly of others than oneself.
Love is not rude or demand it’s own way
Another word for rude is disrespectful. It’s acting in such a way that is degrading, belittling, and inconsiderate. Rudeness stirs up trouble and causes division between two people. While “demanding it’s own way” speaks to selfishness and thoughtlessness. Love does not seek to drive a wedge between two people, instead it desires closeness by putting others needs before your own.
Love is not irritable
In other versions of the Bible it says, “it is not easily angered.” However the word irritable means having or showing a tendency to be easily annoyed or made angry. This phrase can go both ways meaning love is not quickly angered and/ or provokes anger in others; rather it seeks reconciliation, peace and harmony. Love does not easily get offended, because it is in moments like these that bitterness and accusations can take root.
Love keeps no record of being wronged
Love forgives, and is willing to forgive over and over without bringing up faults again. Love lives as if these trespasses never happened by moving forward and not harboring ill feelings. No relationship can ever fully heal if a record is held and not released back to God. Unforgiveness is not taken lightly in God’s word, in fact Matthew 6:15 says this, “But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” This act of love raises the standard.
Love does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices in the truth
Love does not celebrate sin or delight in doing evil or seeing evil done to others. It also does not support or follow someone indulging in sin but rather prays for them and trusts God will redirect their path. Love takes a stand for righteousness and truth no matter the circumstance. It ultimately rejoices in God’s way.
Love never gives up