What Love Is


1 Corinthians 13-14v1
There are three things that will endure—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. Let love be our highest goal..

Let Love be your highest goal.
Actively chase a life of Love.

Love is not an emotion.

This love that Paul is talking about is a patiently kind posture of being actively or actionably loving towards others.

Let loving others be your highest life focus.

Let the way you love others be the defining aspect of your every day life.

What does that look like?
Paul is concerned that this young Corinthian culture knows the answer to this question. What does a life of Loving others look like? What does it not? So, he presents a continuum.

Am I meaningless noise…?
If I could speak in any language in heaven or on earth but didn’t love others, I would only be making meaningless noise like a loud gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I knew all the mysteries of the future and knew everything about everything, but didn’t love others, what good would I be? And if I had the gift of faith so that I could speak to a mountain and make it move, without love I would be no good to anybody. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would be of no value whatsoever.

1. My Love matters more than my gifting.

I may want to be known for many skills and gifts that I add to the world around me, but my love towards others is more valuable. It is actually worth more.

2. Love is what makes my life substantial.

I may be inclined to chase many skills / gifts, but in the economy of God, only loving others, following His love example towards them, makes our days on earth matter.

3. Love is my choice.

I may want to blame others for my lack of love, but in the end, it is my choice and only my choice.

When I was a child…
It’s like this: When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child does. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly as in a poor mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me now.

How does a child think and reason?

If it matters to me, I will take it.

I want what I want.

I won’t be happy unless I get what I want.

When I grew up, I put away…

Maturity is not an accident.

Age does not create spiritual and emotional maturity.

There is an intentional choice to, “put away…”

Paul is talking about maturing in the Kingdom. That is the process of allowing the Holy Spirit to take up more and more room in our hearts. It is a process we call, “becoming like Jesus.”

Paul gives two lists here:

a. The childish list (when I live in alignment with my SIN nature)

b. That grown up list (when I live in alignment with the Holy Spirit)

The Childish List:
Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.
jealous – an envious or contentious rival

boastful- a self display, employing rhetorical embellishments in extolling one’s self excessively

proud- to puff up

rude- indecent, to act unbecomingly

demanding – self-seeking or self-focused

irritable – to be harsh or sharp

record keeping of wrong – to calculate into memory (ledger) an action that hurts or brings injury

excited about injustice – legal or moral wrongness

neutral on truth – it is opposite. It celebrates and rejoices in what is true.

The Grown up list:
Love is patient and kind…Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love will last forever, but prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will all disappear. Now we know only a little, and even the gift of prophecy reveals little! But when the end comes, these special gifts will all disappear.

Love never gives up – to bear or cover over

Love never loses faith – to remain in trust

Love hopes – to live full of joy and confidence despite circumstance

Love remains – to stay under, have fortitude and perseverance

Love lasts forever – to never quit or leave a post

Being loving always trumps knowledge

Wrap up
Paul is committed to this young culture understanding that there is an absolute truth involved in LOVE. The childish tendencies and actions we carry with our sin nature are NOT LOVE. They are byproducts of sin.

So, how do we handle it when we see these coming out of us? How do we handle UNLOVE coming out of us?

Do we just white-knuckle and fight through it?

Do we isolate and get away from others?


1 John 4v7-19
Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is born of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God—for God is love. God showed you how much he loved us by sending his only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love. It is not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and His love has been brought to full expression through us. And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us.

Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. All who proclaim that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in him. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgement, but we can face him with confidence because we are like Christ here in this world.

Such love has no fear because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of judgment, and this shows that his love has not been perfected in us. We love each other as a result of his loving us first…

When I see a lack of love in me, it should drive me to Love. We can only love as we have been loved.

Let Love be your Highest goal…