“Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”
(1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
Even the apostle Paul’s greatest critics acknowledged him as learned and highly intelligent. Upon hearing Paul’s personal testimony, the Roman governor, Festus, responded in disbelief, “Paul!” He exclaimed, “thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad” (Acts 26:24). Even the pagan governor respected Paul for his theological and philosophical acumen. Paul himself affirmed the importance of learning when he lamented over his lost and erring countrymen the Jews. “For I bear them record,” wrote the great apostle, “that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge” (Roman 10:2 cf Hosea 4:6). Some knowledge is essential. Our eternal life depends upon our knowledge of the true and living God (John 17:3). Even though knowledge is essential to our well-being, Paul warns us that knowledge alone is not only insufficient by itself, it can actually lead people astray in terms of their attitude and conduct. Knowledge by itself leads to self centered arrogance. Love, on the other hand, serves to edify others (1 Corinthians 8:1). Love, translated “charity” in the Old King James Bible, is the very greatest of ethics simply because it reflects God’s own morally-perfect character (1 John 4:8,16). Today’s inspired verse passage reveals several beautiful truths regarding love. It is amazing to think back to the Lord’s earthly ministry and see in His words and actions, divine love on display for the world to marvel at. Love suffers long and is kind. In the history of the world no one has every seen a more patient and kind human being than the Lord Jesus. Love is not envious nor does it parade itself in vainglorious fashion. This reminds us of Christ’s humble and meek attitude (Matthew 11:29; 12:19-20). Our Lord always behaved appropriately to the situation, mourning with those who mourned John 11:35), treating with tenderness those who were humble but erring (John 8:3-11), and giving strong rebuke to the proud and self righteous (Matthew 12, 23). He constantly put the needs of others above His own. He was not easily provoked; He refused to revile those Who reviled Him (1 Peter 2:23). He was quick to forgive sin. He took no pleasure in iniquity but rejoiced in the truth (see His interaction with Nathaniel John 1:47). Love bears all things, and Jesus bore the cross up Golgotha. He bore our sins in His body on the tree (1 Peter 2:24). He is the blessed Lamb of God Who bore away the sin of the world. God demonstrated His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Our appropriate response is to love the One Who loved us first, with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. May this be so today.
God bless you,