Read 1 Corinthians 13
1. Love is patient
"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:9, NIV.
Live in a way that is faithful and righteous. Instead of hesitation or rash decisions, wisely wait and act upon the right things. Wait for God's timing, God's direction; bear burdens, punishments, hardships; remain pure in heart, mind, and body; live a life for God and demonstrate His love to others. God is very patient with us, He gives us opportunity after opportunity to turn to Him, to repent, and to live the life He has called us to live. He does not sit ideally and observe what happens, instead, He actively is patient for us and pursues us endlessly.
2. Love is kind
"But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful." Luke 6:35, NIV.
Love is the glue that binds peace and unity together. We are commanded to love each other as God loves us. God not only loves you, but He also loves the person you don't like, He loves even the worst person on the planet. Think about some of the people recorded who have denounced God, taken His name in vain, spit on Him, mocked Him... and what did God do? God loved them still. Just as Judas, who betrayed Jesus with a kiss, Jesus still loved him. God knows everything, all that would happen, all that has happened, all that will happen, and He still chose to create us and send His only son, Jesus, to die for us. We need to look at Jesus' examples of love and practice it. As the saying goes "practice makes perfect", the more we study and practice God's love the more it will flow out of us instead of us having to force it out. Right now it can be a struggle to love someone who has hurt you, but the more you practice loving him/her, the easier it will be to love others.
3. Love does not envy
"A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones." Proverbs 14:30, NIV
""Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord. There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off." Proverbs 23: 17-18, NIV.
Envy is a nasty root, it grabs hold of your heart and twists it pouring poison into it each turn and tightening its grip. Envy ruins your peace, it leads the way for other sins and for a life of unfulfillment. Instead, we are called to be zealous for God, to align our hearts to His will and His plan. To rest in His peace and to pour out good fruit to others.
4. Love does not boast
Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth; an outsider, and not your own lips. Proverbs 27:1-2, NIV.
"“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord." Jeremiah 9:23-24, NIV.
We are called to only boast about the Lord and what He has done, not about anything we have done. Boasting is a form of pride, it is trying to get people to look at how great you are and to focus on your talents. Who created you? Who gave you those talents? We did not create ourselves and only have our skills and talents because of a gracious God, therefore, we should only boast about His holiness and His grace. Also, it is better when someone else praises you or boast about your character or talent. It is proving a testimony, it is verifying your character. Boasting with your own lips, only harms your testimony and allows you to be viewed as arrogant and prideful, qualities Jesus never demonstrated or approved of.
5. Love is not proud
"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." Ephesians 4:2-3, NIV.
Pride is the root of all evil. Thinking we are better than we are. Thinking we are better than someone else. Love is not proud, it does not boast about its greatness or believe itself to be better than it is. Love is humble, it demonstrates a sincere, grateful attitude. It appreciates all God has given and all God has done. It does not look at what it doesn't have or should have, but focuses on how blessed it is. We need to try harder to have humility, to bring peace by being humble. Jesus, who is King and Lord above all, was born poor, He grew up working hard, He washed His disciple's feet, He died upon a cross. How can we think or behave proudly when our Creator, our Redeemer lived a humble life and lowered Himself for us, sinful, undeserving human-beings?
We are called to be like Jesus, therefore, as God loves, let us love. Love God first, above all, then love others as the Bible describes. Love with agape love, with pure love, with lasting love. When you look at someone remember that God created them, loves them, and died for them. We all make our own decisions and we all decide each day what we say and do. We all sin and fall short, but through love, things are healed and brought back together again. Let love reign and rule in your life, the true love of God.