My, Devotion to Him #189

This devotional is going to cover LOVE. Not only will we talk about love but this devotional will be covered by my wife and myself. Together we have wrote this message as it takes two half’s to tell the full story.  

Verse Passage: 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, 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. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” – NIV

What does real love look like? The Apostle Paul tells us…

“Love is patient.”

LOVE is special because LOVE waits. It waits for people to change. It’s long-tempered. It accepts people as they are, not as we want them to be. Where there is LOVE there is patience. It hard we feel sometimes to be patient but that’s because we are in our earthly bodies. But LOVE is always patient. 

LOVE is “kind.” This doesn’t mean it’s has a passive endurance but instead an active goodwill. Not just passively accepting people but actively accepting people. Not just standing on the other side of the room, thinking, he or she drives me crazy—I’m going to steer clear of them, LOVE actually goes across the room and finds a way to engage or embrace that person. LOVE looks for ways to express acceptance to people whom we might otherwise target with our harsh criticism.

There have been many times that Mariah and I have had to deal with people who we didn’t really like. But we must remember that we are direct representatives of Christ and should have the LOVE of Christ in us. And when we have patience and kindness we can make that effort out of LOVE to try. Even in a relationship or a marriage. It’s not always going to be roses. But LOVE still finds away to be kind. Kindness is embedded into LOVE itself. 

“Love does not envy or boast.” Love is not jealous. Even when those around us seem to prosper and succeed more than we do, love isn’t jealous. Love does not say, “I was fine with my friend until he/she got (a promotion, new car, pay raise, ect.” LOVE says, “I am happy for your successes and will not let jealousy dampen my love for you,” and “I am for you. I have always been for you, and I will always be for you. I will not be caught up in comparisons, even when you are more successful, recognized, or rewarded than I am. I pray, hope, and want the best for you.”

When you love the people in your life, you won’t let their successes—or yours—change the way you treat each other. There have been times where Jacob and I have had some people say things about us because we choose to do things differently in our finances that would position ourself for success, freedom, and less stress. What we need to do is to LOVE each other the same way no matter who has success. Success comes in many different forms and with LOVE we shouldn’t envy others but instead want the best for them. 

Sometimes in marriages one spouse might be more successful than the other and people separate them into two separate entities. But as people are married they are in turn merged together. One spouses success is the other spouses success as well. LOVE looks past all the promotions, paychecks, objects and looks at the person. LOVE always sticks to the roots and stays true thick or thin. 

Love “is not arrogant or rude.” Love chooses not to make another feel uncomfortable by boasting about personal success or highlighting your own life in a way that would embarrass or belittle a friend. We’ve been in situations talking with people who brag on and on about their success. It’s nice to see people are being rewarded for hard work but at the same time. We need to remember that our success as Christians come from the Lord. And we shouldn’t boast of ourself instead we should glorify the Lord.

Love is accepting. “Love bears all things, believes all things.” Love bears the weight of misunderstanding and defends the heart of the other. Love gives the other the benefit of the doubt and constantly says, “That’s not what he/she meant.” It believes the best about the other person and defends him/her: “That’s not why he did that. There must be more to the story.” When Jesus taught, “Judge not, that you be not judged” (Matthew 7:1), He was directly referring to judging others’ motives. Of course we have to judge actions, but we are not to judge motives. We don’t know why others do what they do, and we should assume the best about them.

It’s easy in our flesh to just make up things about why someone did something. But we need to let that go and judge the actions and not the motives. 

It’s also easy when hearing something to automatically take it a certain way and sometimes in an offensive way. But with LOVE we need to steer clear of that thinking. And instead clarify how a person meant someone if we think we might have taken it the wrong way.  

Love always believes the best about people. “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things.” Love sees people not as they are, but as they will be someday, by God’s grace. We are not the people we once were—God is changing us. We need to extend the same grace toward others that we want extended to us.

Love “endures all things.” Endure is actually a military term for driving a stake into the ground. Love does that. Love won’t retreat or back away. Love will be there for the other person and will stand its ground. LOVE can get messy and sometimes you will need to get into the trench and stand your ground. When I was going through my situation with the courts and so many people had left the side of my family. The church was shaken. And some leaders failed as they struggled with this issue. There was many times I felt alone. But Mariah was always there. She was always comforting me and uplifting me when everything was falling apart. When my health took and turn for the worst. Mariah was there. When there was times I thought I was going to die Mariah was there. Constantly going to the ER and several Dr’s coming up with nothing, me walking with a cain as a teenager. Mariah was there with me. Even to this day when I deal with this issue Mariah is there. LOVE endures. LOVE does not get spooked and run away when things get rough, and the tide crashes against it. It’s standing your ground and not moving for the person you love and standing with them when things get dark. 

Another view that we can use in the “Endures all things” is for Christians who are struggling because other Christians are not being very Christian. But they have the LOVE of Christ in them and so they endure this difficult time. LOVE is an amazing thing because it can withstand so much turbulence, pain, abuse, struggle, etc. and LOVE still remains. One of the greatest examples of how strong LOVE actually is, is the story of Christ. He LOVED us and His Father and God LOVED us. That they both chose to bear a burden so great and also came with a high price.

“Love never ends.” Love will never fail to accomplish God’s highest and best purposes. If a relationship unravels, it wasn’t because of love. Love always takes things to a better place. If you love others wholeheartedly and embrace the people in your life as they are—warts and all. When they let you down, or whatever else—God will use that. Love never fails—not at home, at work, or in the church. That’s an unequivocal, absolute, condition-free guarantee: “Love never ends.” 

Father, love is not weak or passive. It’s fierce and active and transformational. Through love You changed the world. Through love please change me. I want to love others with this brand of love—patient, kind, happy for others, humble, enduring, never-ending love. Help me start with this: When my criticism flares today, please help me to believe the best of the other person. When I feel irritated today, please help me to see the other person as who he is becoming by Your grace. Because You first loved me, help me to love others. In the name of Jesus, whose love never ends, amen.

Copyright © 2019 by Jacob D. Olinger & Mariah Olinger

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