Love Never Fails
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
I’ve heard these words from I Corinthians chapter 13 often referred to as the ‘LOVE’ chapter. It is often quoted as a favorite verse in relationships and has been used as a scripture lesson at several weddings I have attended.
I have to admit that when I really think about these words, I struggle with them. I know I’ll never reach these lofty standards of love in Christ. I know I’ll let people down and hurt them. I know that my intentions are to be Christ-like in my love, but my actions are far too often very Jim-like. Luther’s teaching about us being saint and sinner at the same time is very real to me. So, what’s the answer? I could give up or I could try harder; maybe pretend I never read these verses? I believe the answer is to pray for the Holy Spirit to continue to transform and strengthen me to become more and more like Jesus. If left to my own devices I will only fail, but led by the Spirit of God I will mature and grow in Christ-like love as I pray, study, and live as His child. This is a promise that God keeps for all of His children. Seek His promises because God’s love never fails.
January 6, 2020 found me sitting in the chair at my optometrist’s office for an annual appointment. Between ‘1 or 2?’, puffs of air in my eyeballs, blinking lights, and eye charts I found myself almost laughing out loud at the circumstances and this reading from The Message:
“Get out of bed, Jerusalem! Wake up. Put your face in the sunlight. God’s bright glory has risen for you. The whole earth is wrapped in darkness, all people sunk in deep darkness, But God rises on you, his sunrise glory breaks over you. Nations will come to your light, kings to your sunburst brightness. Look up! Look around! Watch as they gather, watch as they approach you: Your sons coming from great distances, your daughters carried by their nannies. When you see them coming you’ll smile—big smiles! Your heart will swell and, yes, burst!” Isaiah 60:1-5
“Look up! Look around!” How perfect! Arise, shine, get out of bed! Your light has come! Unfortunately, we are too often blind to the Light that has come. We want to live our lives for ourselves and make our own way out of the miry pit. We want to believe we can somehow contribute to our own salvation. But our Father knows better, and He knows us. He sent the Light into the darkness so humanity could be rescued. In Jesus we can live in the light of eternity. In Jesus we find hearts filled to bursting and smiles for our huge family of believers. In Jesus there is hope. Let us ever look to Jesus, the giver of life. May our 2020 be 20/20 toward Him.