1 Corinthians 13:4-7
(Tree of Life Version)
4 Love is patient,
love is kind,
it does not envy,
it does not brag,
it is not puffed up,
5 it does not behave inappropriately,
it does not seek its own way,
it is not provoked,
it keeps no account of wrong,
6 it does not rejoice over injustice
but rejoices in the truth;
7 it bears all things,
it believes all things,
it hopes all things,
it endures all things.
A very familiar passage of scripture. So familiar that I think sometimes it is easy to quote without any meaning attached to it. The other day I was asking God to speak to me about a particular situation, and He led me to these scriptures. I found it very convicting as I was feeling something slightly less fuzzy than love. But, of course, He knows what He is talking about so I stopped and listened.
Over the last few days as this has marinated in my heart, I am reminded that the opposite of love is fear. And this is why love is such a powerful thing.
Love produces patience, fear is in a frenzy.
Love is kind, fear promotes meanness.
Love has no envy, fear is crazy jealous.
Love doesn't even need to brag, fear is afraid not to.
Love doesn't get all cocky, fear needs to be noticed.
Love doesn't ever embarrass, fear will say and do things that shouldn't be said or done.
Love defers to its neighbor, fear is a know it all.
Love doesn't get mad, fear is all about anger.
Love doesn't keep score, fear remembers everything.
Love doesn't laugh over other's failures and tragedies, fear is happy when others are hurting.
Love is happy with the truth, fear will lie and try to hide the truth.
Love helps out, fear stands by in judgment.
Love sees the good, fear focuses on the negative.
Love never gives up, fear doesn't even start trying.
Love puts up with life and all it brings, fear is always complaining about it.
As I have contemplated the extreme contrast between love and fear, I feel so woefully lacking in true understanding. However, I can see where God's love is teaching me how to love, what it means, and how powerful of a weapon it is. This love,while it certainly can be applied to our romantic idea of love, is not really about that, it is about choosing. Choosing power and a sound mind over the anxiety and slavery of fear.
To me it is very clear in my outline above, you choose one. If we look at our lives, the things we do and say, and the decisions we make, we are choosing one or the other. It is not some vague idea that floats around the universe. It is not some romantic poem to insert into a valentine's day card. It is a choice we are making every moment of every day.
In Verse 8 of this chapter, it says love never fails. Love never fails. If we choose the actions of love, we will never fail. Fear cannot succeed no mater how hard it tries. The more it tries, the more it fails and ends up causing chaos in our lives. Love might take a little more effort than fear sometimes, but it is God-given and much more rewarding than fear.
2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV) For God hath not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.