“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud” (1 Corinthians 13:4).
- Agape love is patient. The Greek word used for patience is makrothumia. A characteristic of the fruit of the Spirit, it is the ability to put up with someone we would like to put down. It is being able to avenge ourselves yet we refrain from doing so.
- Agape love is kind. The Greek word for kindness is chrestotes which means to show loving concern for others; to be useful, gracious; it volunteers to help. It is the oil that takes the friction out of life.
Paul said, “Love is patient and kind.” We Christians do not have the option of choosing who deserves our love and kindness. It’s not open to debate or discussion. Loving others comes with our new birth in Christ. It is our responsibility! But we have to practice it—to make an effort to be kind. If there is no desire to serve others in love, perhaps we should ask ourselves if we have actually experienced God’s mercy and grace.
- Agape love does not envy. The Greek word for envy is zeloo. It means to be zealous, implying a sense of jealousy, to covet earnestly, and usually reaping some sort of action. Envy is to the soul what cancer is to the body. It makes itself miserable with its own miseries. We need to realize that harboring envy is the same as objecting to God’s blessing upon someone else. When we are confident in who we are before God, we do not have to be envious of anyone.
- Agape love does not boast. The Greek word for boast is perperuomia, which means to brag. The only time we are to brag or boast is to “boast in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:31).
- Agape love is not proud. Paul admonishes us: “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit” (Philippians 2:3). God hates pride and arrogance (Proverbs 8:13); it breeds quarrels (Proverbs 13:10), and Obadiah 3 says that the pride of our heart deceives. When we forget about ourselves, we usually start doing something for others.
During the early years of their marriage, Beth Moore shared that her husband sometimes chose to go fishing instead of church. It upset her so much that she could not refrain from quarreling with him. What bothered her most about his absence was her having to explain why he was not at Sunday school. She hoped to make him so miserable that he would choose to go to church with her. Sound familiar?
However, relief flooded her soul the day she relinquished responsibility for her husband’s spirituality! It was hindering her own! She said he would miss church occasionally to fish, and when he did, he left her a note: “Elizabeth, Jesus loves a fisherman.” She did not doubt that, but noted that her hubby rarely caught any fish on Sunday!
Unfailing is God’s matchless love,
So kind, so pure, so true;
And those who draw upon that love
Show love in what they do. -D. De Haan