Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
(1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NLT)
One of my hardest challenges every February is finding the perfect Valentine’s gift for my wife, Sandie. O yes, my television bombards me with endless commercials suggesting just the right gift that will bring joy to the one I love. And it would be easy to end my quest quickly if I was willing to settle for a gift that is expensive enough, beautiful enough, impressive enough to be classified as a great Valentine’s present.
But, after fifty years of living with the love of my life, who dedicates herself to loving me in so many wonderful ways, a great gift just won’t do. In fact a fantastic, tremendous, over-the-top present won’t measure up or come close to the gift she really desires.
Allow me to let you in on a little secret that I learned by God’s grace. Oh yes, it was all God’s doing that enabled me to give my love the gift she really longed for. Many times, like you, I have read God’s definition of love found in 1 Corinthians 13. But, no matter how many times I read these verses, I consistently missed seeing the best love gift that you and I are able to give someone. Now, before I reveal the best “love gift” to win the heart of your Valentine, let’s look at what love isn’t.
“Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice…”. I sum up all these negative words with one word, SELFCENTERED. One of the attributes Satan places within us is selfishness. From the moment we are born, it is all about us. For example, as a baby when we were hungry, we cried. We soon learned that when we cried a bottle or food would soon be on its way. As we grew older, we desired more and better toys than the other kids in the neighborhood. As teenagers we wanted the best looking date to go with us to the prom. As adults we had an internal need to have the best profession in order to enjoy all the finest things the world has to offer us. In other words, it is all about us.
Now, let us take a look at what love is according to 1 Corinthians 13! Love rejoices when truth wins. Instead of giving up or losing faith, love is always hopeful and endures through every circumstance. Did you notice that not one of these wonderful qualities of true love can be purchased? They have to come from within the giver to meet the specific needs of the receiver. This is the key to giving the perfect gift of love. LOVE THE ONE YOU LOVE AS THEY DESIRE TO BE LOVED!
This is selfless love. It is truly an altruistic, noble way of expressing your love to someone. A selfless gift of love will never be rejected. It will be treasured above all the gifts he or she has ever received. But the question is, what must you do to discover how someone desires to be loved? It requires you to spend time. Time to observe what brings the greatest joy to the beneficiary of your love gift. Time to listen long enough to discover your one act that will bring them relief from what is troubling them.
The fact is that everyone desires to be loved in their own special way. Even the most hardheaded, angry, egotistical people of this world yearn to be loved. Jesus provides for you the perfect way to love those that surround your life. And that is to, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:31 NLT) But, before you will be able to do this act of love effectively you must fulfill the first greatest commandment, “… you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.”(Mark 12:30)
Loving God with everything you have requires that you empty yourself of everything you depend on so that your only resource for meeting all your needs is God. This is the love gift God desires from you. That He is your all in all. This is what the Bible records that Jesus accomplished to honor and love His Heavenly Father, “Jesus has put all things under His feet.” But when He says “all things are put under Him,” it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all. 1 Corinthians 15:27-28 (NKJV)
Once you are in a right relationship with your Heavenly Father, you are also capable of loving others with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. You will also be able to give the perfect love gift they so long for. And like the last verse of 1 Corinthians 13 states, your gift of love will be the greatest gift that lasts forever.
“Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—
and the greatest of these is love.” (1Corinthians 13:13)
By. Rev Larry Schreiner