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Have you ever thought about what it means to love and be loved? What is love? What does it look like? How important is love?
In Paul’s letter to some other Christians in a city called Corinth, he wanted to help them know what love is and how important it is to God. So Paul wrote down some things to help them understand what God’s love really looks like.
He wrote to them and said, “What if I could speak in all different languages — even the language that angels speak — but I don’t have love, then all my words would just sound like noisy banging — bang, bang, clang, clang, boom, bong, gong! Ouch! I need to plug my ears.”
And he said, “What if I had a really special gift where I could know things that were going to happen in the future? Or what if my mind could understand all kinds of amazing or mysterious things?
“Or what if I had faith that could tell mountains to move and they would get up and go? Whoa! Well, if all that was true, but I didn’t have love… I would be nothing. Yes! Nothing. Without love, all that stuff would mean nothing.
“What if you gathered up all your toys and clothes and gave it all away to the poor, but you didn’t love? Do you know what that would be worth to God? Nothing.
“What if you even gave up your own life to very hard things or even death, but you didn’t do it with love? Do you know what you would have? Yup. Nothing.”
(So love is important! If none of those amazing things matter at all without God’s love, then we better find out what God’s love does look like? Keep listening to hear what else Paul said.)
“God’s love is patient.” (It calmly and peacefully waits and waits and waits.)
“God’s love is kind.” (It opens doors. It gives flowers. It says “please” and “thank you.”)
“God’s love is not jealous.” (It doesn’t look at what others have and want, want, want those things for itself.)
“God’s love doesn’t boast and brag.” (It doesn’t say, “Look at me. Look at what I have. Look at what I can do.”)
“God’s love isn’t puffed up and proud.” (It doesn’t think, “I’m big stuff.”)
“God’s love isn’t rude.” (It’s gentlemanly or ladylike. It uses manners.)
“God’s love doesn’t look for how to get its own way.” (It thinks, “It doesn’t matter what happens to me.”)
“God’s love isn’t easily angered, or bothered or freaked out.
“God’s love doesn’t keep track of wrongs.” (It doesn’t keep score of how many times someone fails or hurts you.)
“And it’s never happy when someone does wrong. But God’s love IS happy when it hears or sees truth.” (It shouts, “OH YEAH!”)
“God’s love holds up under all things — carrying the heaviest loads. It Believes all things — convinced anything is possible. It Hopes all things — expecting wonderful things are just around the corner. It Lives through whatever it takes; that means God’s love never gives up.
“Speaking special words and knowing a bunch of awesome stuff — that will all go away at some point. But God’s love will always be around. It never fails.”
Now that you know what Paul said about love, you will start to notice that many people quote what Paul wrote about love. You’ll see it on plaques and blankets and pillows and pictures — because everyone wants to BE loved in this way.
But even though you often see or hear people quoting Paul about this, very few people see and experience this kind of love. Do you know why? Because this is God’s kind of love, so most people find it very hard to love others in this way. You need that new heart we’ve been talking about to really love with God’s love.
In fact, a little later you’ll hear about some things John wrote down to some Christians. He tells them that if you want to know who knows God and has a new heart — then just look for the people who love like this.
Of course, you should always try to love with this love. But don’t be surprised if you can’t always do it yet, as a child. Trying will help you see that you need Jesus and the new heart that only He can give. Then one day, when Jesus comes to live inside of you, this love of His can shine out of you.
Then Paul said, “When everything else disappears and is gone. There are three things that are left: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is… Love!”
So just remember… when you don’t know what to do, just choose the greatest thing. Choose to Love!