AudioEvangelism.com - Love: What It Is & Isn’t (Part 4) Love: What It Is & Isn’t (Part 4)

We have noted these negative characteristics of agape love thus far from I Corinthians 13:

1. Love does not envy.

2. Love does not parade itself.

Let us now continue our consideration of what love is not:

3. LOVE IS NOT PUFFED UP (13:4).
Agape love is not arrogant; it is about humility and submission. "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up" (James 4:10). "Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for 'God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble'" (I Pet. 5:5).

4. LOVE DOES NOT BEHAVE RUDELY (13:5).
Agape love is not unseemly but courteous. It is not rude, impolite, or ill-mannered. Such is the way of the world, not a Christian. Paul demonstrated this in his life according to I Thessalonians 2:10 - "You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe." Matthew 7:12 is also worth noting here: we should do unto others as we would have them do unto us, and no one wants to be treated rudely!

5. LOVE DOES NOT SEEK ITS OWN (13:5).
Agape love is unselfish. Philippians 2:3,4 - "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others." Don't love someone for what they can do for you. Love them because it is the right thing to do. Seek what is in their best interest physically & spiritually. Love them even when it will not be returned (e.g., your enemies).

6. LOVE IS NOT PROVOKED (13:5).
One with agape love is able to control his temper. Ephesians 4:26 cautions us - "'Be angry, and do not sin': do not let the sun go down on your wrath." No matter what others may do to us or how they may mistreat us, it may displease us but we ought not to let ourselves become provoked or enraged to the point that we lose control. When we have agape love we will continue to want the best for that person, even if there is no feeling of natural affection.

7. LOVE THINKS NO EVIL (13:5).
Remember, agape always has the other person's best interest in mind. Thus, evil thoughts are not planned against others. Also, this type of love takes no account of evil. That is, it does not keep personal records on evil deeds others have perpetrated against us. Such a love is always ready to forgive! "Not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing" (I Pet. 3:9).

8. LOVE DOES NOT REJOICE IN INIQUITY (13:6).
Agape love does not find any joy in unrighteousness. Those with genuine love will find no pleasure or satisfaction in the sins of other people, or the evil that befalls them (e.g., Eze. 33:11). Don't be happy when someone has misfortune, regardless of whether or not you think they deserve it. If you find yourself doing such, it means you have a lot of spiritual growing to do.

9. LOVE NEVER FAILS (13:8).
Agape love never fails to accomplish its purposes. This highest form of love will never be removed; it will never expire or be extinguished. It is permanent in the system of Christianity and even in the grand scheme of God's eternal plan. While other things serve their purpose and cease, such as the miraculous gifts, love endures. It is possible to outgrow the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit as their purpose is fulfilled, but it is impossible to outgrow agape!

The kind of love we've seen described in I Corinthians 13:1-8 is the kind of love that God has and the kind of love that He wants us to cultivate. Agape love is a deep subject; it is not empty words or emotions or sensual fulfillment. Agape requires the right attitude and right action. Are you known for your love or is there something else people think of when they think of you? "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:35).