Daily D – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

by | Dec 22, 2023 | Daily D | 0 comments

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1 Corinthians 13:4-7  ”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.“ (NLT)

Some people prefer the eight-pound Baby Jesus. Others prefer a Jesus who looks like a Greek god chiseled out of marble. A popular t-shirt during the Promise Keeper stadium events years ago featured a muscular Jesus doing pushups with the cross on his back. 

More than one man’s man has declared how he doesn’t go in for all that love stuff. He wants the Jesus who grew up in a carpenter’s home with strong hands and arms made so from lifting timbers and stones and placing them in just the right place as he built homes and furnishings. 

Read the Apostle Paul’s story carefully and completely. We discover a man’s man. He was an athlete. He was tough as nails. He could take a licking and keep on ticking. He also wrote the most famous words about love ever written. Look again at the top of the page and see what he said.

This isn’t fluffy greeting card love. This is tough-minded determined love. This is love that doesn’t give up, doesn’t give in, and doesn’t give out. This kind of love is tougher than the most rugged of manly men. This is the kind of love Jesus displayed throughout his life and by his death on the cross. This is the kind of love vindicated by God our Father when he raised Jesus from the dead. 

Christmas is an initiative of God’s love. It’s what John 3:16 is all about. It’s what John 13:34, 35 is all about. This is what John 15:12, 13 is all about. I double-dog dare you to find a love stronger than this. 

How do we know when we are putting on love like Jesus, the tough-minded, resolute, perfect love he displayed every day in every way? Paul’s list helps us evaluate ourselves. 

Are we more patient and kind?

Are we less jealous, boastful, proud, and rude?

Do we demand our own way? 

Are we irritable?

Do we keep a list of grievances top of mind?

Do we rejoice with the truth?

Does our love supply ever run dry?

Does it fill our lives with faith, hope, and endurance?

Until our masculinity measures up to this, we are not as much like Jesus as we think we are. Our faith is not as powerful as we pretend it is. Our grip of God’s grace is less firm than we imagine. 

Christmas reorients our thinking about strength and love. In the frailty of Immanuel’s arrival, we find the power who created the heavens and the earth cradled in a feed trough. We find illumination that attracts guests from near and far. We find a gift of love greater than any ever given. We find grace greater than all of our powerful sins, all our powerful weaknesses, all of our powerful vulnerabilities, all of our powerful pretensions of strength. 

One night a baby was born who was more powerful than anyone and everything. A few pounds of flesh and blood, tiny hands, little feet, eyes clenched, and loved so much it hurt. That young mother never missed a moment of the wonder. That young father never wandered away. 

Christmas reorients our thinking about strength, love, meaning, and God’s eternal purpose. 

Once upon a time, one of the strongest of manly men held a tiny baby in his hands and understood which of the two was stronger and more powerful, and that it wasn’t him. It is good when men today likewise discover the strength of God bound up in a kind of love that includes, protects, defends, and inflates our hearts two sizes or more.

I will learn the strength of God’s love and deploy it day by day and moment by moment.

Our Father, make me ever more loving. Make me strong with your strength for serving others in love. Make me more like Jesus and Paul, some of the greatest lovers of all. Amen.

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