Over the past few weeks, we’ve been taking a deeper look at what the Bible tells us about loving others as Christ would.
Even amidst the cold weather (and snow!) here in Branson, we’re preparing for the best time of the year— SUMMER!— which is only a few short months away.
A couple of weeks ago, we shared the inspiration verse behind the theme for summer 2018 on our blog: 2 Timothy 1:6. This week, we’d like to return to another foundational passage of Scripture that inspires a lot of what we do here at Kamp: 1 Corinthians 13. In the fall, we began diving into Paul’s teachings on love, which we’ll be finishing up through January and February, picking back up with 1 Corinthians 13:7 today.
“[Love] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
1 Corinthians 13:7
As Christians, we are called to surround others with unconditional, Christlike love. To the best of our ability, we are to mirror the selfless, perfect love He showers on us as His children. With our human nature in play, it can often be hard to love others without judgement or reserve. When others let us down, as humans do, our earthly instincts tell us to turn away from them— that they don’t deserve our love. But 1 Corinthians 13:7 teaches us differently.
In this part of Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth, he isn’t speaking of love in the abstract. Rather, he is teaching about love in practice. He lists actions associated with true, selfless love that we must exhibit as Christians. Love bears. It believes. It hopes. And it endures. As we learn in 1 John 3:18, we aren’t to love by expressing words, but by acting “in deed and truth.”
To love as Christ did, we must live with intention, even when it comes to love. As Paul tells us, love “bears all things.” This means that we love by protecting. Rather than pointing out someone’s flaws or being quick to make a joke at another’s expense, we are to protect those around us by championing the truth and praising the strengths, rather than weaknesses, of our peers.
Selfless love also “believes all things.” This means that we love by trusting— not in lies or deceit, but in the goodness of others. Similar to the action of protecting, here Paul is calling the Corinthians to avoid jumping to blame or judgement, and to seek truth instead. As Christians, we are to trust those who have given us no reason for distrust, just as we are to believe in the Lord’s promises because He is always faithful.
The lesson in love “hopes all things” is one of trust as well. It is also centered around optimism and encouragement. In 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, we learn that despite our weaknesses, we are made strong through Christ’s sufficient, neverending grace. With the wonderful promises that God has given us in His words and exhibited in our lives, how can we ever love others with a spirit of discouragement and pessimism? God in us is able, and we must love in a way that shows that hope to others.
Finally, Christlike love “endures all things.” Jesus put love on display when He suffered incomprehensible pain to die on the cross for our sakes. Although we will never be able to love as perfectly and wholly as Christ did, we are still called to love amidst trial, heartache and disappointment. Love in action is not always easy, but it’s always worth it in the end to have exuded Christlike love to someone who truly needs it most.
We don’t love others because we think they deserve it. We will truly never deserve what Christ did for us. We love others each and every day, because of the love that Christ gives to us— an unquestioning, unconditional love that bears, believes, hopes and trusts.
As we head in 2018, let us all remember that love is more than a word: it’s an action that reflects the life, sacrifice and resurrection of Christ. How will you show Christlike love to those who need it most?
Want access to a video library of biblical wisdom and encouragement? Head over to Joe White’s new YouTube channel for new video content that will be sure to build you up in your walk with Christ as well as keep you up to date with all things Kanakuk.