Paul Defines or Describes what God’s Love Does Part 1
1 Corinthians 13:4 “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant” NKJV
Paul now moves from the contrasting of “agape love” with all of the other “spiritual gifts” to actually defining it for the Corinthian believers and us detailing what love does and how love looks when it is made visible in the life of the believer. Paul defines God’s Love first when seen as patient and this English word Paul uses here translated by the Greek word makrothumeo means being able to be with long enduring temper; to be long spirited or forbearing (unruffled self-control and restraint or slow burning); the ability not to lose heart and to persevere patiently and bravely in enduring misfortunes and troubles; to be patient in bearing the offenses and injuries of others; to be mild and slow in avenging; to be longsuffering, slow to anger, or slow to punish. This is for me the most endearing and adoring quality of my Heavenly Father. It strikes me with great awe that I am being molded by Him to manifest this slow burning character towards those who offend me. That I can draw from the deep well of His Love that pours out this long-suffering and respond to overt, open, and obvious acts or deeds meant to hurt or injure me and cause me offense in some manner humbles me greatly as I often times find myself falling so far short in this area.
As we declared in a previous study of verse 2 in this great chapter 13 how our Heavenly Father’s work of judgment is His strange work (Isaiah 28:21) and that is due to His “long-suffering” or “makrothumeo” with sinners and this is the same word the Apostle Peter used when he wrote these words in his second letter, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering (makrothumeo) to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). Love displays itself in refraining from not only the outward action of retaliating for being wronged, but being spread so thoroughly with our Heavenly Father’s Love (expressed in long-suffering) that we endure the offense or attack or trouble despite how terrible it may hurt physically, emotionally (mentally), or spiritually. Solomon writes it in this manner, “The end of a matter is better than its beginning; Patience of spirit is better than haughtiness of spirit” (Ecclesiastes 7:8) and it is well said, for patience though it may at times seem very hard and difficult to us will produce peaceable fruit and will squash anxiety in us on every occasion we exercise patience.
God’s Love after it expresses itself in patience or long-suffering acts kind to others whether they are deserving of kindness or not. This English word kind is translated by the Greek word chresteuomai which means to show one’s self mild as in being tender and considerate to others and also to be tolerant and forgiving under provocation (Ephesians 4:32). It is the Nature of God to be kind or chresteuomai to all humanity because we offend Him every day multiple times in a day and that is true of sinner and saint alike, therefore, we saints being partakers of His Divine Nature must manifest this quality of His Love by being kind to other human beings even when they are rude or un-civil to us, as our Lord Jesus declared to us with these words, “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:44-48). Kindness is when we respond to someone who despises us with their speech and actions, speaking nothing cruel back to them nor doing anything to them or their person or property that would cause them harm.
Love does not envy and this was the sin of these Corinthian believers that Paul pointed out to them from the very beginning of his letter. The English word envy is translated by the Greek word zeloo which means to burn with zeal, jealousy or to be heated or to boil with hatred and anger or spite and resentment at seeing the success of another. It is absolutely unthinkable for a believer in our Lord Jesus Christ to resent another believer for what they have been blessed by our Lord Jesus Christ to act as steward over because we know that everything belongs to Him, even all that the unsaved and unbelievers have in their possession. The earth is our Lord’s and the fullness thereof, and we are heirs with Christ, so it is the opposite of God’s Love flowing from us when we allow the enemy to tempt any of us to envy one another (1 Peter 2:1).
Love can never be expressed by a boastful spirit. When we seek to be seen or have our names known or be exalted by what we have or our title, then that is not the expression of God’s Agape Love working itself out from our hearts or inner man. The English phrase Paul uses is “vaunteth not itself” which is translated by the Greek word perpereuomai which means to boast one’s self, self-display, employing rhetorical embellishments in extolling one’s self excessively. This sort of behavior comes from a person belonging to the devil and not to our Lord Jesus Christ for He humbled Himself from being in heaven to come down to earth and suffer for His Own creatures He created. Paul writes extensively that we should not do things for our own personal exaltation, but for the building up of Christ Body. Love never parades around saying look at me, reward me, recognize me, but love instead of being inflated or arrogant, love is quiet, pure, restraining, uplifting, cleansing, and God honoring as declared by the Apostle John with these words, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3).
“A Christian without patience is like a soldier without arms.” Thomas Watson
“Perfect love will never want the preeminence in everything, it will never want to take the place of another, it will always be willing to take the back seat.” Smith Wigglesworth
“The nature of God’s love is unchangeable. Ours alternates all to readily. If it is our habit to love God with our own affection we shall turn cold towards Him whenever we are unhappy.” Watchman Nee
“If we have got the true love of God shed abroad in our hearts, we will show it in our lives. We will not have to go up and down the earth proclaiming it. We will show it in everything we say or do.” D. L. Moody
“Kindness does not require us to be blind to facts or to live in fancies, but it does require us to cherish a habit of goodwill, ready to show pity if sorrow appears, and slow to turn away even if hostility appears.” Alexander MacLaren
“A professed believer in Christ that is proud, arrogant, envious, jealous, and quick tempered is living by feelings and knows nothing of the “love of God” and if he or she persist in this way of life continually, then they don’t even know God. This was Paul’s concern for many in the Corinthian Church.” Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reade, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…