Follow the way of love…
Literally, “pursue love,” but meaning something like the NIV translation above. It is something we have to work at, because left to ourselves, we don’t always love well. We do in spurts and starts, but too often are caught up in our own miseries, so that we either end up being castaways in our own world, or having to guard ourselves against becoming cross at others.
The Christian way gets criticism for an ethic based on command, as opposed to just simply doing what comes natural to us. But what’s not taken into account is that we can so easily react, or respond in ways which are not helpful, perhaps displaying past hurts not healed, or for whatever reason. And sin is a factor, old fashioned word that it is. There are simply reactions we have which violate love, and are not helpful for others good, not to mention our own good.
The exhortation from Paul is couched around “the love chapter” and teaching on spiritual gifts in the church. The idea is that it is something that needs to be worked on together. It is not something that altogether comes automatically. There will be reasons we are repulsed from such. So that we have to be committed to working on it as individuals, and together as God’s community.
The advantage we have is God’s love poured in our hearts by the Spirit whom God has given us (Romans 5). And in this context, what is described in 1 Corinthians 13, especially in regard to characteristics of love is something that we should keep in front of us, as well as work at practicing.
Sometimes we just need to lay low, and keep our thoughts to ourselves and God. And above all, remember, and dwell on God’s love for us. Unlike us, God’s love is not dependent either on our worthiness, or circumstances. Of course as we become more grounded in God’s love, neither will ours, although our love in this life is fragile. The point here is that God’s love for us remains, as well as God’s love for others. We must remember our limitations, and the fact that God’s love never runs dry.
We do this together, both giving and receiving. Committed to doing our part in and through Jesus.