Summary: Looking for Love ? It will be easier to find if you first find out what it really is -
Again this week I pleaded with the Lord for a topic. Asking him what is the most important for them to learn ? This week the answer again was Love. Last week we spoke of John’s acknowledgement of Jesus’s love and the importance of us acknowledging Jesus’s love as John did. This week we shall speak of our love for each other.
How many of us really know what love is ? Song writers and poets have written of it since time began. Yet how much do we really know about it?
Inorder to see what the Bible has to say about love let us look at the Apostle Paul’s exhortations on love to the Corinthians .
Corinth was one of the largest and greatest cities of Greece. Its population was about 75,000. It had been one of the most important cities of Greece since about the 8th century B.C.
It was destroyed by the Romans in about 146 B.C and rebuilt by Julius Ceaser around 44 BC. Its two harbors allowed excellent access to both Asia and Italy making it an important stop on the valued Mediterranean trade route. It did a flourishing business in trade and was a bustling tourist center with many people drawn to its shrines
Corinth was long before Christianity a city of love in the worldly sense. There existed there the Temple of Aphrodite- The Goddess of love, a temple dedicated to her stood on a high hill near the city. It was said to have been populated by thousands of temple Priestess. In essence temple prostitutes. Who taught that sexual love with them was the way to truth. An interesting and popular misconception in its day. It also housed the Temple of Dionysus - the Greek God of Wine and intoxication and the Temple of Isis an Egyptian Goddess - the Enchantress and Goddess of magic. Corinth was an UnGodly party town at its best.
Amongst Corinth’s many visitors were large numbers of sailors who after many months at sea found the lively Corinth a welcome beacon. When it came to worldly love Corinth appears to have been the capitol.
There is no doubt in my mind though that Corinth to borrow from a song lyrics - "gave love a bad name."
Why had Paul chosen this den of iniquity as the place for his exhortations on love ? I suspect because many of the people of Corinth had the wrong idea of Love. Just like many of us do. Paul knew Corinth well as he had preached there.
Paul’s dissection of love is a work of startling simplicity and yet it truly strikes the very heart of the matter.
Read his words to the Corinthians-
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails.
Lets take a closer look at his exhortations:
Love suffers long -
It will endure . It is not quick to anger. It puts up with the inadequacies of others stoically. It can endure evil and provocation. It endures with many slights and neglects from the person it loves and has patience to await the eventual good that it believes shall eventually prevail in others thru faith in God’s ability to change them. It has self-restraint. In our current day of domestic violence, sexual unfaithfulness and broken relationships it is an important aspect of true love and one against which many of us will surely be tested, for in it we see that love can and must be able to suffer the pain of betrayal without ceasing to truly care for and continue to love those who have betrayed us, wronged us, or who simply do not accept or understand what true love is.
Love is Kind -
It is useful, benign, not rough or harsh. It seeks to do good, It is patient though injured by others. The purpose of love is to seek the welfare of the one loved. We also learn that kindness is more apt to encourage good in another person. This kindness brings out the best in they who are loved.
Let us now look at Paul’s exhortations about what love is not.
Love does Not Envy -
It rejoices in the successes of others. It is content with what the Lord has kindly allowed it. Envy is least productive of all sins as it wishes less for someone else while doing nothing productive for they who envy. In real love we are not envious of those who appear to be getting a better break than us.