GOD IS LOVE. “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:8 Yet when man defines love, “God is love” becomes “Love is God” and man worships fleshly love and makes it an idol. Anything has the potential to become an idol- your family and children, your job, the government, success, comfort and so on. In our country and especially in our churches, love is an idol. People love “love” more than they love God.
When you forget and spurn God’s holy Word, laws and precepts; love becomes an idol. When you care more about what people think and other’s opinions of you, love becomes an idol. When you say, “I’m just called to love”, because you fear the reproach of man, you have made human love an idol. Maybe you don’t understand what love is?
God gave us the definition of love in the 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians. Paul’s letter was to show these believers that their conduct was not in accordance with love, in fact much of what they were doing was in contrast to it. There were contentions and strifes among them; there were jealousies, unkind and false judging, the imputation of improper motives, and selfishness; there were envy, and pride, and boasting, all of which were inconsistent with love; and Paul therefore evidently designed to correct these evils, and to produce a different state of things by showing them what would be produced by the exercise of love. So he says: you can speak in tongues and prophecy by the Spirit of God and not have love.
You can have supernatural faith to move mountains and not have love. You can give up everything, serve everyone and give your life away and still not have love. Does this shock you? I was born again in a Pentecostal church, surrounded by all the power of God and I can attest personally that many that spoke in tongues and prophesied were cold, mean-spirited, and prideful. I’ve known some that did their works before men, gave generously and served willingly only to be seen righteous before others and pride themselves in their works. They did not know or love God, let alone care for the souls of man.
We love others for GOD’S SAKE, not for ourself or what we can get in return, not for how it makes us feel, not necessarily even for their sake (since many reject the love of God). Therefore, if love is God and love is for God’s sake; then you must first love the Lord with all your heart, mind, body and soul. This is where many fall short. They worship love and say, “This is what God is!” Yet, they don’t even love the Lord and are disobedient in all their ways. And if the love you are trying to give others does not flow out of a heart that’s been changed and renewed by the Spirit, then the love you give is fleshly, godless and destructive. You’ve made love an idol.
Here’s what love is: (the following is a compilation of commentaries on the Greek)Love is patient. The word used here μακροθυμεῖ makrothumei denotes “longanimity,” slowness to anger or passion; longsuffering, patient endurance, forbearance. It is opposed to haste; to passionate expressions and thoughts, and to irritability. It denotes the state of mind which can bear long when oppressed, provoked, calumniated, and when another seeks to injure us. Love is kind – The word used here denotes to be good-natured, gentle, tender, affectionate.
Love is benignant. It wishes well. It is not harsh, sour, morose, ill-natured. Love “is courteous.” The idea is, that under all provocations and ill-usage it is gentle and mild. “Hatred” prompts to harshness, severity, unkindness of expression, anger, and a desire of revenge. But love is the reverse of all these.Love envies not – οὐ ζηλόι ou zēloi. This word properly means to be “zealous” for or against any person or thing; that is, to be eager for, or anxious for or against anyone. The sense is, love does not envy others the happiness which they enjoy; it delights in their welfare; and as their happiness is increased by their endowments, their rank, their reputation, their wealth, their health, their domestic comforts, their learning etc., those who are influenced by love “rejoice” in all this.Love vaunts not itself — Greek, ου περπερευεται, acts not rashly, as the expression is translated.
The lover of God and mankind does not hastily condemn anyone; never passes a severe sentence on a slight or sudden view of things. Nor does he act or behave in a violent, headstrong, or precipitate manner.Love is not puffed up — With pride or self-conceit on account of any endowments or qualifications, mental or corporal, natural or acquired, civil or religious.
On the contrary, love to God, whereby we esteem Him as the greatest and best of beings, desire Him as our chief good, delight in Him as our portion and treasure in time and in eternity, cannot but humble us in the dust before Him, while we contrast our various weaknesses, imperfections, and sins, with his infinite excellences and matchless glories, and compare His superlative goodness with our great unworthiness. And the love of our neighbour, naturally leading us to dwell on his virtues, and overlook his defects, must also, though in a lower degree, produce the same effect, and cause us to prefer others to ourselves in a variety of respects.
Love does not behave itself unseemly — Or indecently, as ουκ ασχημονει properly signifies. This word occurs in 1 Corinthians 7:36. It means to conduct oneself improperly, or disgracefully, or in a manner to deserve reproach. Love prompts to the due respect of others. Love seeks not her own — Ease, pleasure, honor, or temporal advantage. The lover of God and of mankind seeks not, in some sense, even his own spiritual advantage; does not think of himself, so long as a zeal for the glory of God and the souls of men swallows him up. But though he is all on fire for these ends, yet he is not provoked, (the word easily is not in the original,) to sharpness or unkindness toward anyone.
Outward provocations indeed will frequently occur, but he triumphs over them. Love is an utter enemy to selfishness; it does not desire or seek its own praise, or honor, or profit, or pleasure. Not that love destroys all regard to ourselves, or that the charitable man should neglect himself and all his interests. But love never seeks its own to the hurt of others, or to neglect others. It prefers the welfare of others to its private advantage.Love thinks no evil — The loving indeed cannot but see and hear evil things, and know that evil exists; but he does not willingly think evil of any, neither INFER evil where none appears. Love rejoices not in iniquity; rather, at unrighteousness. The rejoicing at sin, the taking pleasure in them that commit sin, the exultation over the fall of others into sin, are among the worst forms of malignity.
Love rejoices in the truth; rather, with the truth. There are many who “resist the truth” (2 Timothy 3:8); or who “hold the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18); but love accepts the truth, keeps it pure, exults in all its triumphs. So “the truth” and “unrighteousness” are contrasted (Ro 2:8). “The truth” is the Gospel truth, the inseparable ally of love (Eph 4:15; 2Jo 12). The false love gospel which compromises “the truth” by glossing over “iniquity” or unrighteousness is thus tacitly condemned, “He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the Lord.”Proverbs 17:15 ESVLove bears all things—without speaking of what it has to bear. The same Greek verb as in 1Co 9:12. It endures without divulging to the world personal distress. Literally said of holding fast like a watertight vessel; so the charitable man contains himself in silence from giving vent to what selfishness would prompt under personal hardship.Believes all things—unsuspiciously believes all that is not palpably false (in relation to the conduct of others), all that it can with a good conscience believe to the credit of another.
A man of love is willing to believe all the good things reported of men; he is very credulous of such things, and is unwilling to believe ill reports of persons, or think any ill of men; unless it is open and glaring, and is well supported, and there is FULL EVIDENCE of it. (Be aware that when you watch some videos that you do not come to a false conclusion of what is happening or falsely assume any motives). Hopes all things —what is good of another, even when others have ceased to hope. (Also in relation to the conduct of others) Love has hope that things will turn out well, hope for sinners and prodigals to repent and return to the Father. Endures all things – Bears up under, sustains, and does not complain. Bears up under all persecutions at the hand of man; all efforts to injure the person, property, or reputation; and hears all that may be laid upon us in the providence and by the direct agency of God; compare Job 13:15.
The connection requires us to understand it principally of our treatment at the hands of our fellow-men.Paul ends by saying that the gifts of the Spirit are perishable, are only done in part and will cease one day. Note- the gifts have not ceased yet as some falsely proclaim. They are in effect and will continue until the return of Christ. There will be no more need for the gifts when we are in His presence and translated into His kingdom. However, they are greatly needed while we are traveling this earth.
The Corinthian church was over exaggerating these charismatic gifts and under valuing the kind of love that endures forever. This should challenge you. As I was studying this out, I have missed the mark in many areas. Maybe you thought differently of what love is, hopefully you see the truth. Repent and ask the Lord to cleanse your heart and mind that we may be righteous children of the Lord and walk in love. We do not strive to walk like Him, (in a humanistic sense) this produces fleshly, prideful and legalistic people. It is a mere mimicking. We humble ourselves and die daily so that He may live and show Himself in and through us.
The love we display is His love working in us and proceeds forth to others. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. “We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”Galatians 2:15-20 ESV#runyourrace
To Learn More About Pastor Crystal please visit the Leadership Page