That time of year when we celebrate love is almost upon us. To be truthful, we enjoy the day, but don’t make too much of it.
My children have been (and a couple still are) homeschooled, so we’ve never had a need to do the big valentine card thing, save perhaps for a few special friends and family members. When the kids were little, we’d do fun crafty things, make a card for daddy and bake some yummy treats. There was often some special chocolate and maybe some pencils or trinkets that were love-y. As they got older, we would read Bible verses about love, particularly 1 Corinthians 13–and, perhaps, enjoy some festive treats.
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.
But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
This list always makes me cringe a little. Not because I don’t like what it says–on the contrary–it’s beautiful. No, I wince because I reflect so little of the essence of true love. I’ve been told we can put the name of Jesus in place of love in the text. He is love personified. How thankful I am that He loves us so perfectly! However, put my name in the text and–well, not so much.
My wife heart is overflowing with a deep, intimate and thankful love for the Love of my life. My momma heart is joyfully bursting with love for my children and grandlittles. My daughter heart is tied forever with love for my mom and dad. My sister heart aches with love for my brother, gone too soon. My comrade heart loves my friends and friends-that-are-family. My Christ-follower heart loves the Lord, His church and the lost.
Unfortunately, I am fickle. While it is true that there is love for each spectrum of my social circle, it varies in intensity–both between the various concentric circles and within each circle at any given moment. The outpouring of my love, is not always lovely. Sometimes, it is merely apathetic. Sometimes it is downright ugly.
♥ Love suffers long and is kind.
No eye-rolling, foot-tapping, or tongue-waggin’.
Just pure patience and pleasantness.
♥ Love does not envy.
No jealousy, resentment or bitterness.
Just generosity and good-will.
♥ Love does not parade itself, is not puffed up.
No cockiness, conceit or condescension.
Just humility and respect.
♥ Love does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil.
No self-importance, self-seeking or self-serving. No churlishness, no bursts of rage, no plotting for revenge. No insults, no guile, grudges.
Just grace and thoughtfulness.
♥ Love does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth.
No happy dance when someone falls or fails.
Just a loving, supportive, helping hand to get back on their feet or on the right track.
♥ Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
No leaving others to fend for themselves. No thinking the worst of others. No defeatist attitudes. No easy-outs.
Just champions, advocates, defenders, guardians and cheerleaders.
♥ Love never fails.
Just aspiring to achieve. Giving my all. Giving my love. Giving it whole-heartedly. Without expectation. To the lovely. To the unlovely. When I feel like it and when I don’t. All my attempts may not be valiant, some may even be feeble. But that’s ok. I am trying. I am asking God to make my heart more like His dear Son’s. And I am crying out for His love to shine through my poor efforts
This reminds me of a song we used to sing in our kids’ club days: ‘Love is Something if You Give It Away,’ What a simple truth. Love not given has very little value. And yet, like a magic penny, when you share it, you end up having more! (I hope it’s acceptable for me to share this cute video.)
What a wonderful world this would be if we all loved like Jesus.
You can get my gift to you, the rose gold 1 Corinthians 13 printable, here.