A devotional thought from Kendell Easley for “Good God”
First Corinthians 13 is popularly used in wedding ceremonies. Nancy and I used it for our own wedding. We understood that the love Paul spoke of was the supernatural, self-giving love of God and not romantic love. Yet somehow it seemed to fit. We knew, of course, that our love for each other would fall short of the ideal, but we have never stopped believing that true love in marriage can strive for this, with God’s help.
Several years ago, we were challenged to consider that the love—agape in Greek—that Paul spoke about as a Christian virtue makes even better sense when we see that 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 is actually describing God’s character. Our pastor suggested that we rewrite the passage, substituting “God” for love. Here is what we came up with:
God is patient, God is kind. God does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs. God finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. God bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. The love of God never ends.
This opened us up to a fresh way of thinking about love. When Nancy and I express agape-love to each other, we are actually acting in a Godlike way. We can do nothing more Godlike than be patient and kind with one another. Further, we have been overwhelmed with the extent of God’s love toward us when we recognize this definition of what true love really is. And if God’s love never ends for us, then with His strength we really can love each other without end—and seek to show such unending love toward others as well.
Pause and Reflect
• Reread the paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 13 above and add the words “to me” or some equivalent in each phrase: “God is patient toward me, God is kind to me” and so on. Let this encourage you today!
• Now expand it another way. Put yourself in the place of love: “I am patient toward ___, I am kind to ___” and so on. Let this version challenge you to be more Godlike toward others you will meet today.