“Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured. It does not rejoice at injustice but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail]. Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening]. Love never fails [it never fades nor ends].” (I Corinthians 13:4-7 AMP)
Most Christians have heard or should have heard about the God kind of love found in I Corinthians 13. It is the kind of verse that pricks our conscience because how many times throughout our lives have we failed to walk in this kind of love? Too many to count for me. Yet it remains the most important commandment in the New Covenant. Jesus laid out the two commandments of the New Covenant: Love God and Love others.
Mark 12:29-30 says “Jesus answered, “The foremost is, Hear, O Israel! The LORD our God is ONE LORD; and you shall love the LORD your GOD with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength. The second is this, You shall LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”
What exactly does this entail? What does this look like in our modern twenty-first century world? The modern world is like living in a pressure cooker. The pace is fast. Fast food, instant this and instant that. The pressure for us begins when we start school, especially nowadays with all the crazy sex education they are doing. It continues the rest of our lives with grade school, middle school, high school, college and then we begin our careers and start our families and the cycle begins for our children. Who has time to put God in a priority position?
And yet if we want to be successful, we must do exactly that. God has a beautiful way of straightening out the most crooked paths we are walking down. He can untangle the most hideous messes we find ourselves in.
The first commandment is to put God first in our heart, our mind, our soul and our will. We must give Him the first position. It also means we are not to allow people, things or situations to take us away from Him in this position. These things become idols in our hearts and we enter a very dark place if we don’t repent return to our first love. God is very adamant about His position in our hearts.
The second commandment IS I Corinthians 13. It is spelled out for us in these two verses. We cannot love our neighbors properly until we learn how to love God properly. This is because when He is our priority, we will exhibit His character and His character IS I Corinthians 13. He is patient, He is kind, He is longsuffering, He believes the best of us and the list goes on.
What Agape love is:
- Full of peace
- Rejoices with the Truth
- Bears all things
- Believes all things
- Endures all things
- It ignores wrongs
- Never fails
What Agape love is NOT:
- Jealous our envious
- Does not brag
- is not arrogant
- Is not rude
- is not overly sensitive
- is not self-seeking
- is not resentful or fretful
- is not easily angered
- does not champion injustice
These things are not a list of do’s and don’ts but rather they are what defines us as people who exhibit the character of God. In other words, it’s not what we do but rather who we become! We can only live this way by putting Him first in our lives no matter how hectic our lives are because sooner or later what we are dealing with WILL pass. Children grow up, spouses die or leave sometimes. Our current circumstances WILL change. Why not let them change for the better by putting your LORD and Savior first in your life? Why not trust your life to the One who makes the crooked places straight? Who lays the lines to you in pleasant places?
Where do we begin? I made the decision to give Him the first part of my day before I get started on anything. I get up a little earlier I have coffee ready to brew and I just spend some time in worship and talking to Him and reading some scriptures. I give Him the day and ask that He bless it and use me somehow to help someone and show His love to those around me. I started with 15 minutes and now I’m up to 30 to 45 minutes. You may only have 5 minutes, so start there. Just go to your place of prayer and spend the very first part of your day with Him. THAT is putting Him first in your day. You will be amazed at how your day will go. I know I am.
Since I’ve been doing this, I have noticed how smooth my days go. I tend to get good parking places at the store, I just miss the bad traffic on my way to work. I get the best cars to drive at work. It’s amazing how God’s blessings will flow to you all because you put Him in His rightful position: FIRST….
Don’t know Him?