Love Is!


‘Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.’ 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

The apostle Paul gives such a wonderful description of what love is all about. You will notice that he doesn’t describe love in terms of feelings or emotions but in practical ways. In fact, we could say he is describing the love of God, 1 John 4:8 / 1 John 4:16, which should be displayed in all our lives, Galatians 5:22-23.

The love Paul is describing is a motivation for action that we are free to choose or reject. It’s the Greek word ‘Agape’ which describes a sacrificial love that voluntarily suffers inconvenience, discomfort, and even death for the benefit of another without expecting anything in return, Ephesians 5:1-2.

Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 and replace the word ‘love’ with the word ‘God’.

Love Is Patient

In the New Testament, patience has to do with how we should respond to abuse. Taking a long time to get angry! Love patiently waits and attempts to win over our adversary.

William Barclay tells the following enlightening story. Edwin Stanton was the bitter opponent of Abraham Lincoln in the early days of their political careers. Stanton characterised the awkward-looking Lincoln as a clown, a gorilla, etc.

When Lincoln became president, however, he appointed Stanton as his secretary of war; because he felt that he was the best man for the job. Later, when President Lincoln lay dead from Booth’s bullet, at the bedside Stanton tearfully said, ‘there lies the greatest ruler of men the world has ever seen.’ To be patient is to be God-like, 2 Peter 3:9.

Can you think of an occasion where patience won the day? How did it make you feel?

Love Is Kind

A wise man declared, ‘that which makes a man to be desired is his kindness.’ Proverbs 19:22. Kindness includes attributes like friendliness, compassion, generosity, and tenderness. In a world that is saturated with harshness, a kind character is a refreshing breeze.

There is many a woman who would trade a handsome husband for a kind one. Kindness would stifle the plague of child abuse. More kindness among brothers in the Lord would alleviate so much church trouble. The Scriptures demand that we be kind to one another, Ephesians 4:32. To be kind is to be God-like, Luke 6:35.

Can you think of an occasion where kindness has changed someone’s life? How did that make you feel?

Love Is Not Envious

‘The consuming flames of jealousy are as cruel as death’, Song of Solomon 8:6. What is jealousy? Jealousy is a feeling of displeasure caused by the prosperity of another, coupled with a desire to extract the advantage from the person who is the object of one’s envy.

The loving person will rejoice at the success of others. Jealousy has destroyed many a home and church. Envy was one of the sins responsible for the death of Christ, Matthew 27:18 / Acts 7:9 / Acts 17:5.

Can you think of an occasion where envy may cause someone problems? How did it make you feel?

Love Is Not Boastful

Solomon once wrote, ‘let another man praise you, and not your own mouth.’ Proverbs 27:2. Is there anyone more tedious than listening to someone bragging about what they have done or are doing?

Genuine love is selfless, it seeks to praise the virtues of others. Love has words of encouragement for the lonely, the downtrodden, and others who deserve and need uplifting. But some like to blow their own horns. When a Christian begins to boast, if it wasn’t for them, the church would be lost, we can’t help but think of the word boasting.

Can you think of an occasion where someone was boasting about something? How did it make you feel?

Love Is Not Proud

The original language here denotes someone who is inflated with a sense of personal pride. Pride is unreasonable self-esteem, generally accompanied by insolence and rude treatment of others. Pride deceives the heart, Jeremiah 49:16, hardens the mind, Daniel 5:20, and results in destruction, Proverbs 16:18. Love is characterised by genuine humility, Philippians 2:3-4.

Can you think of an occasion where someone was full of themselves? How did it make you feel?

Love Does Not Dishonour Others

The Greek expression here literally suggests the notion of being ‘without form’. It encompasses all sorts of evil activity, bad manners, and brutal rudeness. The Christian’s vocabulary should be characterised by such expressions as, ‘no, you first,’ ‘please,’ ‘thank you,’ ‘how may I help you?’ etc.

Love operates with determined politeness. The terms ‘gentleman’ and ‘lady’ should reach their high point in the context of Christianity. Love doesn’t deliberately seek to be offensive.

Have you ever witnessed someone who loves nothing more than putting other people down? How did it make you feel?

Love Is Not Self-Seeking

Love does not pursue its own interests; love is not selfish. It has been said that there are two kinds of people in the world, those who are always thinking of their rights and those who concentrate on their responsibilities. In our world today there is a lot of selfishness around.

Everyone is protective of their own rights, but all too often, many people say, ‘let others fend for themselves; I’m looking after ‘Number One.’’ After all, it’s a jungle out there, a dog-eat-dog world. Whence came the origin of this fang and claw philosophy?

By way of stark contrast was the sacrificial example of the Son of God, Philippians 2:5-8, the apostle Paul, 2 Corinthians 12:15, Timothy, Philippians 2:20, and numerous souls since those ancient times. Love thinks of others and seeks to serve.

Have you ever had someone help you and they didn’t want anything in return? How did it make you feel?

Love Is Not Easily Angered

Anger in and of itself isn’t sinful but it’s what you do with that anger, which cause you to sin, Ephesians 4:26-27. Some people are bubbling, just ready to explode and their day is ruined if someone doesn’t provide the opportunity for them to give a piece of their mind.

Genuine love does everything possible to avoid combat. If conflict for truth has to come, so be it; but a person shouldn’t live in such a way that they can’t wait for an excuse to kick off at someone. Love doesn’t have a short fuse; it doesn’t walk about with a chip on its shoulder.

Have you ever witnessed someone kicking off for apparently no real reason? How did it make you feel?

Love Keeps No Record Of Wrongs

This doesn’t mean that love ignores evil, that view would contradict numerous other passages of Scripture. There are times when evil must be exposed, rebuked, and disciplined. The Greek word for ‘record’ is from ‘logizomai’, a commercial expression which suggests writing a transaction in the record so as not to forget it. Love does not keep score, as in, ‘three times this month they have neglected to speak to me.’

The one who says, ‘I must forgive you, but I will never forget what you did,’ has miserably failed the test of agape love. Love does not harbour bitterness nor does it plot revenge, Hebrews 8:12.

Have you ever heard someone raising an issue which happened years ago? How did it make you feel?

Love Does Not Delight In Evil But Rejoices With The Truth

Since love always seeks the good of others, it can never rejoice when evil prevails. When someone falls, even an obnoxious person, we should never entertain secret thoughts of satisfaction. Rejoicing in moral wickedness conflicts with biblical love and doesn’t have humanity’s welfare at heart.

For example, those who rejoice in parades for ‘same-sex marriage,’ or who cheerfully celebrate the liberalisation of abortion laws, have utterly no perception of what real love is. Divine love cannot be divorced from objective truth, Psalm 1:1-2.

Have you ever seen people celebrate something contrary to what the Bible teaches? How did it make you feel?

Love Always Protects

Love supports and uplifts those who are in need of protection. Jesus was constantly in trouble with His Jewish critics because of His encouragement of the downtrodden, Luke 15:1-32.

Anyone who operates out of love will cover, i.e., be slow to expose the mistakes of another. Love ‘would far rather set about quietly mending things than publicly displaying and rebuking them.’ Barclay. Unfortunately, some are quick to expose and rebuke, but so stubbornly resistant to forgiving.

There may come a time when someone needs to be challenged about what they are doing, 1 Corinthians 5:1-13 / 1 Timothy 5:20, but this shouldn’t be our first response. Christians should be eagerly waiting for an opportunity to expose people’s shortfallings.

Have you ever seen people who are quick to expose but slow to forgive? How did it make you feel?

Love Always Trusts

This doesn’t mean that love is gullible, we need to be careful about what is being taught to us, 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12. Paul is speaking about giving people the benefit of the doubt.

All too often we come to the wrong conclusions about people because we haven’t taken the time to listen to the facts. We should always trust our brethren until they give us a reason not to trust them.

When you hear a distasteful report concerning a fellow Christian, do you hesitate to believe it until the evidence is overwhelming?

Have you ever heard people being accused of something, but you know the accusers don’t have all the facts? How did it make you feel?

Love Always Hopes

Love is optimistic; it entertains the highest expectations. Sometimes we see a someone struggling with their faith and some may think, ‘that person will never make it.’ what we should be thinking is, ‘I believe that with God’s help and mine, they will make it!’, we should never give up hope, Jude 22-23.

Have you ever helped someone who was struggling as a Christian and went on to become stronger faithful Christians? How did it make you feel?

Love Always Perseveres

When challenges, trials and temptations come our way, love should continue to work in and through our lives. Agape love is hard, it’s not easily discouraged. It may leave us feeling down or broken-hearted but it keeps us pushing forward. True love doesn’t give up on God, or on others, James 1:2-4.

Have you ever had moments when you want to give up on God? How did it make you feel?

Love Never Fails

The apostle concludes by telling us that agape love, ‘never fails’. By saying this Paul is saying that God’s type of love will not fall or falter, its constant and forever, Jeremiah 31:3.

Have you ever had moments when you want to give up on God? How did it make you feel?

Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 again, this time replacing the word ‘love’ with ‘your name’.

How does it make you feel when you put your own name in the text?


When we read what love is, we can’t help but see our own failings but love as described in these passages should always challenge us to love right, after all, this love shows that we belong to Christ.

‘A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.’ John 13:34-35


"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."