Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NLT2)
I don’t measure up. What do you mean by that? If love is all of these things, then I am not loving. My life does not measure up to this standard of love. How so? If I were to insert my name wherever love appears in these sentences, I would come up short. I cannot say that I am always patient and kind. There have been many times that I have been jealous or boastful or proud or rude. I’m not talking about in the distant past either. I have demanded my own way. When I have not gotten my way, I have been irritable and resentful. When I have been wronged, I have not been above keeping score. It has not been easy for me to forget and let go of hurts and forgive someone who has hurt me. Maybe, I have not rejoiced at injustice. I hope so. I think so. I doubt that I have rejoiced whenever and wherever the truth has won out. Do you see my point? This kind of love is not being fully lived out in my life. I wish it were. I want it to be. Is that your hope? Is that your prayer? Are you asking me to grow my love in you? Are you asking me to completely change your heart and mind and life? Yes, I am. That’s good.
Then let’s start at the beginning. Where is the beginning? I am the beginning. You love me because I first loved you. Yes, I do. I will do my work in you. I will make you able to love others just as I have loved you. I will mold and shape you. I will teach and train you. You will become like me as you live in an intimate relationship with me. I believe that to be true. That’s good. Because you believe, what won’t you do? I will never give up. I will never lose faith. I will continue to be hopeful. I will endure through every circumstance. Your love will continue to work in me. Your love will continue to change me. Your love will make me able to love others just as you love me. Yes, it will. I’m counting on your love. That is very good.
Heavenly Father fill me with your love. Make me patient and kind. Help me to not be envious, boastful, proud or rude. Keep me from being self-seeking or easily angered. Guard me from anger, resentment and evil of every kind. Build all of your qualities of love in me. Amen
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