Summary: This study examines characteristics 8-11 of the fifteeen qualities of love found in I Corinthians 13.
The past two weeks we have been studying the fifteen characteristics of love that are listed in I Cor. 13. We have covered the first seven. These are challenging! Love requires hard work and God’s enabling.
Maybe you heard about the guy who fell in love with an opera singer. He fell in love while watching her sing through a set of binoculars—from the third floor balcony. He was convinced he could live “happily ever after” married to a voice like that. He scarcely noticed she was considerably older than him. Nor did he care that she walked with a limp. Her mezzo-soprano voice would take them through whatever might come. After a whirlwind romance and a hurry-up ceremony, they were off for their honeymoon. He began to prepare for their first night together. As he watched, his chin dropped to his chest. She plucked out her glass eye and plopped it into a container on the nightstand. She pulled off her wig, ripped off her false eyelashes, yanked out her dentures, unstrapped her artificial leg, and smiled at him as she slipped off her glasses that hid her hearing aid. Stunned and horrified, he gasped, “For goodness sake, woman, sing, sing, SING!” Love can be challenging.
The first seven of the characteristics are: love is patient, love is kind, love is not jealous, love does not boast, love is not arrogant, love is not rude, and love is not self seeking. Now we will look at the next four.
8. Love is not easily provoked. The Message translation helps me comprehend this principle. It translates the phrase love “Doesn’t fly off the handle.” Some people have a short fuse. Some people are thin skinned.
If we exercise this trait we will not be easily angered by people at church, home, work, or school. Anger will cause a person to do illogical things. Maranatha Magazine carried a humorous story about anger and criticism: “The wife of a hard-to-please husband was determined to try her best to satisfy her husband for just one day. ‘Darling,’ she asked, ‘what would you like for breakfast this morning?’ He growled, ‘Coffee and toast, grits and sausage, and two eggs— one scramble and one fried.’ She soon had the food on the table and waited for a word of praise. After a quick glance, he exclaimed, ‘Well, if you didn’t scramble the wrong egg!”
A. Anger is its own worst enemy. Some people criticize the Bible and reject it as a bunch of do’s and don’t’s. The Bible is a common sense book that is given for our good. Anger is one such example. It causes high blood pressure, sleeplessness, stomach problems, and headaches.
Joke: Years ago I picked up a cartoon that illustrates this principle. In this cartoon Beetle steals Sarge’s candy bar.
Sarge says: I want to talk to you, Beetle.” (As he talks he kicks him in the seat of the pants.)
Beetle says: “About what?”
Sarge says: “You saw me buy a candy bar at the PX, didn’t you?” (while continuing to kick him)
Beetle says: “Yes.”
Sarge says: “Okay, where did you put it?” (while continuing to kick)
Beetle says: “In my back pants pocket.”
If God wants you to control your anger it is because He has your best interest at heart. If God wants you to control your lust it is because He has your best interest at heart.
B. A short fuse may indicate other issues that need attention.
Illustration: Some months ago I told you about a weird thing that happened to a dog of ours. This happened years ago. A tick got buried in the skin of this dog. The tick buried up in the dog’s skin just above the shoulder. The dog could not reach the tick to scratch it off. As a result the tick crippled the dog. That is a picture of what anger will do. Anger is often a reflection of other issues we are facing.
Illustration: The most difficult person I have encountered in a church was an illustration of this principle. This man had a teenage son who was killed in a car accident at the corner of the church property. That death seemed to be a burr under this man’s saddle. He took his frustrations out on other people.
C. The Bible encourages us to be in control of our anger. The Bible says “don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry.” (Eph. 4:26) Notice the teaching of the verse. The verse does not deny anger. A Christian is not a super saint who never gets angry. The Bible recognizes that we are going to get angry. It encourages us to get control of our anger. That’s why it says “Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry.”