Greatest Thing in the World

Thursday: What Love Does

Romans 12:9 In this week’s studies, we see that love is the first virtue mentioned among the characteristics that are to be evident in God’s people.
What Love Does

Today we’re continuing our look at Paul’s commentary on love from 1 Corinthians 13: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth…” 

Love is not self-seeking. The world looks at something and asks, “What’s in it for me?” Love does not seek for self, because it is not thinking of self. Love thinks of the one it loves. Jesus did not seek His own advantage when He came to earth to save us. Rather, He “made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant… he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:7-8). 

Love is not easily angered. “For embittering life, for breaking up communities, for destroying the most sacred relationships, for devastating homes, for withering up men and women, for taking the bloom off childhood; in short, for sheer gratuitous misery-producing power, this influence [anger] stands alone,” says Henry Drummond.1 But love is not easily angered. It does not have a short fuse. It is not irritable, not easily provoked. It is not touchy. Love is patient and kind. 

Love keeps no record of wrongs. Some people have a knack for bringing up mistakes we have made and wounds we have inflicted even decades afterwards. Love forgets these wrongs. It does not compile statistics. It is not resentful. It is not vindictive. 

Love does not delight in evil. Love is not amused by wrong doing. It is not attracted by vice. It does not find trash intriguing, even when it is dressed up for prime time television or is published in glossy magazines. Dishonest schemes do not please it. Love hates wickedness. 

Love rejoices with the truth. This is the other half of the only two-part description in this paragraph, and it shows that the evil Paul refers to when he says “does not delight in evil” is chiefly the evil that tells lies. Love loves truth, above all the truth that is God’s. Love loves the Bible, and delights to speak about it. 

1Henry Drummond, The Greatest Thing in the World with other selected essays, ed. William R. Webb (Kansas City, MO: Halmark Editions, 1967), 13.

Study Questions
  1. How was Jesus an example of love that is not self-seeking?
  2. Why does love not get angry easily?
  3. How does love respond to evil?

Reflection: Read Philippians 2:7-8. How did Jesus demonstrate that love is patient, not proud, not easily angered, and always perseveres?

For Further Study: Download and listen for free to James Boice’s message, “The Love of God.” (Discount will be applied at checkout.)

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