Have you ever taken that middle part of 1 Corinthians 13 in which Paul describes love in both positive and negative terms and substituted your own name for “love?” You know, “Allan is patient, Allan is kind, Allan does not envy, he does not boast…” Sure you have.
But if I’m called as a child of God to reflect the glory of our God — and I am! — that means I must reflect his steadfast love, too. His abounding love. His overflowing chesed. Faithful love. Loyal love. Love without limits. Not some abstract love or love concept. Not a friendly feeling. A genuine love proven by its actions.
And that’s not just me. That’s you, too.
“To God be glory in the Church…” ~Ephesians 3:21
So, I’ve made some modifications to 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 in a church context. In a “one another” context. It’s one thing to say, “Allan is patient.” It’s another thing entirely to put that in a specific setting or circumstance.
Allan is patient with his brothers and sisters at Legacy.
Allan is kind to the people who don’t like him or approve of him.
Allan does not envy others’ spiritual gifts.
Allan does not boast in the gifts he has.
Allan is not proud of anything he accomplishes, recognizing that all things come from God and we’re all doing this thing together.
Allan is not rude to anyone at Legacy. No matter what.
Allan seeks the good of others; he looks out for others’ interests instead of his own.
It’s impossible for anyone at Legacy to make Allan angry.
When Allan is wronged by someone at church, he forgets about it immediately.
Allan gives other people the benefit of the doubt.
Allan always protects people at Legacy.
Allan always trusts people at Legacy.
Allan always remains positive.
Allan will never ever give up and quit. Never. Not on the people. Not on the church. Not on the community. Never.
As a man of God, I am called to look like God. To act like God. To increasingly grow to think like our God. To be God-like, holy, sanctified, in the way I live my life and interact with you. I’m called, I’m ordained by God, to reflect his eternal glory, to reflect his steadfast love as it’s revealed to us in his Word and by his actions with his people in history.
And I usually think I’m doing pretty well. In fact, I generally think I’m very good. When I compare myself to other people I run into or even other Christians, I know I’m a very mature disciple.
But when I actually read Scripture, like 1 Corinthians 13, and compare myself against the standard that God has set, I see very clearly how wrong I am. And how far I need to go.
How about you?
“Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” ~1 John 4:11