The greatest definition of love in the history of mankind is given to us in 1 Corinthians 13. This is the “gold standard” to which all of us should strive to pattern our lives.
But notice that right at the beginning, Paul says, “Love IS” (verse 4). Not love feels good or even love does; but love is. Love is not love because it makes us feel good. Love is not love because we did something nice. Love is love because it measures up to this standard in 1 Corinthians.
Here are just the first five attributes of love.
Love is patient
- Patient love doesn’t lose heart, but stays hopeful.
- It endures patiently and bravely in enduring misfortune and disappointment.
- “It can endure evil, injury, and provocation, without being filled with resentment, indignation, or revenge.” —Matthew Henry
Love is kind
- It is pleasant and courteous.
- It both seizes opportunities and makes opportunities to show kindness.
- …as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (Romans 12:18)
Love is catching others doing something good
- The biblical phrase is love is not envious, but I want to turn the positive into a negative. Far too often we Christians are known more for what we against, not what we’re for. So the positive way of saying this: we rejoice when others succeed. Or, we catch them doing something good.
Love is complementing others
- Again, we turn the negative love does not boast into a positive, and say love complements others.
- Agape raises the value of the object of its love.
Love is others-focused
- Again, turning the negative love is not proud into a positive.
- Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)
Here’s where the real test comes in: How will you apply these attributes of love to someone in your life? More specifically: to someone you think is “unloveable”?
I know you have someone in your life that you think is unloveable. With that person’s face clearly in mind, how will you fill in the blanks:
- I can show patience by…
- I can be kind to them by…
- I can rejoice in their success in this area…
- I can applaud them in their…
- I can see them becoming…
If you would like a downloadable PDF of this worksheet, click here –> Love is… worksheet 1