You would be hard pressed to find someone who didn’t know that God is known for love. Even atheists and agnostics know that God should love people. We see some things and question how or if God actually loves people. Love looks like something. What does God’s love actually look like?
John says that God is love. If that’s true, then the popular marriage scripture, 1 Corinthians 13 is actually talking about God before us. Paul gives us 14 different things that describe love. They also describe God, because God is love. They describe how God acts, because God is love He can’t do anything outside of love.
Love suffers long, and is kind. Another word for love suffering long is patience. God has more patience with us than we realize most of the time. No matter how many times we fall on our face God is reaching out, helping and encouraging us to get back on our feet. God is willing to be patient because of His kindness.
Love does not envy. God is not envious, but He is jealous. Envy and jealousy are synonyms, but I see a difference between the two. Envy says “I want what they have”, God’s jealousy says “I want people to be fully devoted to me for their benefit, not my own”. God’s self-esteem is not broken like most people’s. God’s jealousy comes from a place of wanting what’s best for us. An example of God not being envious is seen in the garden with Adam. Adam had everything, the entire world, and walked side by side with God in the garden. Everything seemed to be perfect, but God said it wasn’t good. God said that Adam needed something else, that it wasn’t good for him to be alone. If God were envious He would say that He has and is everything we need.
And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” Genesis 2:18
The next three are similar: Love does not parade itself. Love is not puffed up or arrogant. Love does not behave rudely. God is never rude, He doesn’t parade Himself around, and He is not puffed up. God will never force His way into our lives. Jesus did not walk around Earth as a king, though He is the King of kings. He did not force people to follow Him or bow down and worship Him. God will never barge into someone’s life, but instead He waits patiently for His invitation. God will never force His way into our relationships, finances, family, or career. He will never force you to do anything because that’s not true love. True love requires a choice and another option.
Love does not seek its own. God is not seeking His own. That would be a one sided relationship and not true love. People are often asking what God’s plan is, who God wants them to marry, where God wants them to live. God wants to know what you want as well. God’s desire is for everyone to know Him, but He also wants to know you. Jesus said to people who knew about God, but wouldn’t let God know them “Depart from me, I never knew you” Matthew 7:23. God does not desire a one sided relationship with us. He is not self seeking.
Love is not provoked. Love thinks no evil. When we sin our first thought can easily be “God is mad at me, something bad will probably happen this week, I’m going to pay for this.” That’s a misunderstanding of God’s love. God’s wrath was fully extinguished on the cross. Jesus paid the full price for all of our sins, past, present, and future. All of our sins were considered future sins because Jesus was slain from the foundation of the Earth. Nothing you do can provoke God to do or even think any kind of evil towards you. James says that every good and perfect thing comes from Him. Our disobedience and sin may give the devil a foothold to mess with us, but God is never out to get us. He is only kind, loving, and good.
Love does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth. While God loves sinners, God loves people and died so that we would be freed from sin, so that we would live as sons and daughters. Jesus died on the cross not only to forgive all of our sins, but so that we would not stumble in the darkness of sin any longer. God wants to love people out of their sin.
“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32
Love bears all things. Love believes all things. Love hopes all things. Love endures all things. God is more excited about our future than we are. Unlike us, God always looks forward to a new day, a new season, and a new year. God fully believes that our tomorrow will be better than today. He is the one of perfect faith and hope. God bears our mistakes and endures our failures with only hope and joy for our tomorrow. We can always look to Him as our anchor of hope.
Love never fails. God will never fail you. You might fail you, your friends and family will definitely fail you. But God will not. God has a perfect resume, straight A’s, and a perfect batting average. If God tells us something it will happen, and He says that He will work all things together for good. You can have full assurance that God is true to His Word and will never fail you. His Word will accomplish exactly what He sends it out to do.