Substitute

4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7

If you’ve been to a few weddings, you’ve likely heard this passage, from Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth. If you’ve been to many weddings, you’re probably good and tired of hearing it. I know I am (I’ll wait to step outside for a few minutes just in case—I’ve yet to be struck by lightning, but it can’t be as much fun as it sounds). Jenny and I went with a verse from the psalms for our wedding (this is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it).

Anyway, I was thinking of this verse this morning when I woke up, and I looked it up in its entirety when I got to work (once again, I’m on standby—nothing to do). A little piece of a sermon I heard once came back to me just now, and I can’t even remember where or when I heard it, but the speaker was talking about taking the word “love” out of this passage, and replacing it with “Jesus.” Now, I’m not normally one to take out or replace any part of scripture, but in this case, it made sense. Take a look:

4Jesus is patient, Jesus is kind. He does not envy, He does not boast, He is not proud. 5He is not rude, He is not self-seeking, He is not easily angered, He keeps no record of wrongs. 6Jesus does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7He always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

It works, I think. And the reason why is because God is Love. Jesus is Lord, and God, and Son. Therefore Jesus is also Love.

He’s Love.

Love incarnate. God incarnate.

I wish I had some perfect, eloquent answer to explain what that means, but I only know what it means to me—what love, His love, means to me.

Love is getting a few friends together based on a feeling that something is amiss, and going to play basketball with a fourth, very early in the morning. Love is letting that fourth friend grieve in his own way, and just being there.

That’s a God thing.

Love is another friend witnessing to that same person with her life, and together with her family, praying for that him to come to Jesus. Love is praying that prayer over and over again, for many years without success, yet still persevering. Praying without ceasing for eight years—before he finally got it, and came to the Lord.

Another God thing.

Love is still another friend calling that same man during when he was at his absolute lowest—and keeping him from falling back into the darkness. She probably doesn’t even know what she did, but he remembers, and always will remember.

Another God thing.

And finally, love is a woman willing to persevere past that man’s shortcomings, and fears, and problems large and small, and finding within him the person God intended to be found, and loving the man in spite of all of it—seeing his true heart beneath all the other garbage, all the baggage.

A God thing, to be sure.

So I guess what I’m getting at is that it was Love that saved my life—that saved me, in so many different ways.

It was Love that gave me hope, and a reason to live.

And God is love.

So pray for the lost people you care about, and the ones you don’t know, as well. Pray for them. It works. Persevere, because sometimes perseverance is necessary. And while it’s true that it ultimately still comes down to the choices of the person being prayed for, it’s also true that prayer makes a huge difference.

Witness with your life, as well.

It’s only recently I’ve began to realize that my life tells people more than my words ever will. How I live it speaks volumes about what God means to me, and what he does, will do, and has done in my life. Do I live wantonly, or do I think about what God would think before I do something? Do I consider how I represent God in my workplace? In my leisure time? Do I love indiscriminately? Do I give cheerfully? Do I do whatever I can for the least of these? Do I forgive? And most importantly, do I pray?

4Jesus is patient, Jesus is kind. He does not envy, He does not boast, He is not proud. 5He is not rude, He is not self-seeking, He is not easily angered, He keeps no record of wrongs. 6Jesus does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7He always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

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Author: twilk68

God has changed my life, and changed me. It's that simple. I will ever be grateful, and if I live to be...well, OLD, I will never tire of telling people about the work done in my life, and what can be done in theirs, should they trust God with their innermost everything...

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