The description of true godly love is clearly laid out for us in 1 Corinthians 13. There are eight actions that love does not take, and seven actions that love does take. This week we are going to look at the seven things that love is, and the next post will be able the eight things love is not.
7 Characteristics of Love
Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all rings, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails — 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
1. Love is patient
To be patient is to be long-suffering and slow to anger. Being patient means you’re continually forgiving, instead of lashing out against a wrong committed against you.
2. Love is kind
The meaning of this word “kind” is to be useful. Kindness out of love is an action that benefits someone else. It is being kind to others in the way we treat them. It’s helping them and serving them.
3. Love rejoices in the truth
1 John tells us that whoever keeps God’s word the love of God has been perfected in Him (1 John 2:5). It is obedience to the truth. It is rejoicing when others are living in the truth and encouraging them to continue in it. Love talks about the truth, encourages the truth, and lives in the truth.
4. Love bears all things
This word “bear” means “to cover with silence.” We are to bare all things within proper biblical boundaries. Love does not expose someones sin; love covers it with silence. 1 Peter 4:8 says “love covers a multitude of sins,” and Proverbs 10:12 says, “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all transgressions.” Love does not gossip, but it covers the sin of others. Love disciplines from the Word of God and encourages others towards truth and righteousness, but it does not expose others sins. Love is not judgmental. Love does not share the sins of others in an attempt to make itself appear more righteous.
5. Love believes all things
Love has faith that the one sinning will not continue in that sin. Love has an attitude that expects the best from people, instead of waiting for someone to mess up. When someone does wrong them, love is patient and quick to forgive. Love believes and trusts in that person to do good and follow Christ.
6. Love hopes all things
Even when someone continues to wrong them, it holds on to hope. Hope says that it’s never too late for a person. There is nothing a person could do that would prevent God from being able to save that person. He is all-powerful. Love holds on to the hope that person will be saved or that person will repent and return to Christ.
7. Love endures all things
“Endure” means “to remain,” “to bear bravely,” and “to persevere under misfortune.” Even after love has covered, believed, and hoped, love continues on and endures. Why? Because love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8).
Love never fails
All the qualities of love listed above are actions. They are choices that have to be made. Whether with our family, friends, or spouse, we have to strive to be patient and kind. It’s easy to do when we are treated with the same love. But what about when you and your sibling are arguing? Or when your friend said something they weren’t supposed to?
When the Pharisees asked Jesus what the greatest commandment was, He said, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:37-39)
Romans 13:10 says that love is the fulfillment of the law. If you love God perfectly and love your neighbor perfectly, you will keep the law. You won’t covet what your neighbor has if you love him. You won’t worship other idols if you love God. The whole law can be summed up in the two commandments to love God and love others.
Without love, we are nothing but noisy symbols (1 Corinthians 13:1). Without love, we can not abide in God for He is love (1 John 4:8). Without love, we will not care for others. We will only care for ourselves.
It is hard to love people when we think they don’t deserve it. But if you think about it, God loves us. Do we deserve His love? We have rebelled against Him, run from Him, and denied Him. Through it all, God never stopped loving us. If we truly love Him in return, He will give us the strength to love others like He would, even when they make it difficult to love them.
What other qualities do you think describes love? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Your sister in Christ,