Dies most often.
And yet it remains undefeated. For love is eternal. And love is of God.
I feel like God has been teaching me a lot lately. About death, about love. He has been taking me through a season of dying to self by showing me how puffed up and foolish I had become. Faced with the truth of His Word I couldn’t escape my desperate need for change. My need for Him. Sometimes we get taught all these things and we think we have all the answers, and then we come back to the simplicity and hard hitting reality of who Jesus was and what He taught us and we realise we’ve got it all wrong.
A little while back, as God led me from the past season into this new one, He gave me the passage of 1 Corinthians 13 as my ‘mandate’, if you like, for the days to come.
‘If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it, but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.’ 1 Corinthians 13:1-10
But, to be honest, I had no idea how hard it was gonna be. I thought I was just gonna waltz in, love everyone and away we go.
Or something like that.
Turns out I was suddenly plunged into an environment where I was confronted with my own selfish pride, my boasting and impatience; my inability to show kindness, my holding on to past faults.
I was gonna have to die to my self.
But then, should I finally even learn how to love, it doesn’t get much easier. Because love is not always reciprocated. Sometimes it simply cannot be. Other times you will even see the face of your accuser in the eyes of the one you have chosen to love, and that is hard.
Love is a selfless thing. When it is treated with cruelty, it remains kind; though it could count a million things to its name, it refuses to boast or even become proud. Though it be shot down a thousand times, it always perseveres. Love just loves and loves and keeps on loving.
It is surely better to suffer for love – with an open, bleeding heart – than to suffer with gritted teeth and a heart riddled with pride.
‘For love is as strong as death, its jealousy as enduring as the grave.’ Song of Solomon 8:6