Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Becoming a great lover . . . Part 2

In my blog posting for yesterday, Valentine’s Day, I introduced the concept of Biblical love with the main idea being that true, Biblical love is not a feeling or an emotion alone, but rather it is a choice. Love is an action. I must choose to love even when I do not feel like it. In other words, you don’t fall out of true, Biblical love. First Corinthians 13 gives us the description of 16 characteristics of true, Biblical love to measure our love by. By practicing these actions in all of our relationships, we can become better lovers each and every day. We looked at the first one yesterday. Below are five more of them. If you did not read yesterday’s blog, I’d encourage you to read that before continuing.

Love is Kind (v4). This is a Greek word that comes from a root word meaning “useful.” This describes a person who lives to benefit others by being useful to them. Jesus said this should also include our enemies (Matthew 5:40-41).

Love is not Jealous (v4). In the English language we differentiate between jealousy and envy. We see jealousy as desiring to have the same thing another has while we see envy as trying to deprive another of what they already have. In the Greek language, the same word is used for both jealousy and envy because jealousy, if left unchecked, always leads to envy. This comes out in our conduct (Acts 7:9) as well as our conversation (James 4:2). This describes a person who does not try to deprive you of something you have due to jealousy but rather rejoices with you during your victories and accomplishments.

Love does not Brag (v4). The Greek word here means to talk conceitedly. Its root word means “windbag.” This is the opposite of jealousy in that jealousy wants what you have whole this tries to make you jealous of what it has (First Corinthians 3:21-23). This describes a person who does not talk about their own accomplishments in order to make them look superior or you look inferior.

Love is not Arrogant (v4). Bragging is the verbal action of pride while this is the inner attitude of pride. This was a real problem in the church at Corinth (First Corinthians 4:6-8, 18; 5:1-2). This describes a person who does not think they are better than you and who would rather focus attention on you rather than themselves. The antithesis of this is seen in Philippians 2:3 where we are told to do nothing from selfishness (the desire to get ahead) or from empty conceit (the desire to be seen). But with humility of mind (a word used to describe the Nile River at its lowest stage), we are to regard one another as more important than ourselves.

Love does not act Unbecomingly (v5). This word is translated “rude” in the New International Version. It is a word meaning to act in an unbecoming manner. This deals with a lack of manners and self-discipline which was also a real problem in the church at Corinth (First Corinthians 11:17-22). This describes a person who has excellent manners towards you.

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