Thursday, November 12

Gritty love

Scripture: Job 39-40, 1 Corinthians 13-14

1 Corinthians 13:4–7 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.


In between his discussion of spiritual gifts (we’re different but one) in ch. 12 and 14, Paul sandwiches this paean to love.  He says that love is more important than spiritual gifts, that without it, our gifts mean nothing.  He describes how love behaves in v. 4-7.  He says that our spiritual gifts are temporary and imperfect, but love is eternal.  

This passage is a favorite at weddings.  It’s beautiful.  But it’s also very gritty.  Paul’s description of the way love behaves was no doubt shaped by the conduct of the Corinthians to one another.  He is addressing their selfishness, division, jealousy, and pride.  They’ve been treating one another poorly, and he contrasts that with the way love behaves.  


In this passage, love isn’t a warm sentiment, a romantic feeling, a tender emotion.  Love is gritty—it is being patient and kind with people who rub you the wrong way.  It is rejoicing with people when you feel jealous.  It’s forgiving and letting go when you’d rather hold a grudge and punish.  

We say all the time: Love is doing what is best for another no matter what it costs you.

Here’s another example.  Paul calls for gritty love in a tough environment.  Love is doing.  Love is tough.

When I’m faced with people who are hard to like, I want to tap into God’s gritty love and do what’s best for them!

Prayer: Lord, fill us with Your tough, gritty love—a love that does!