Love Never Fails – by Christina Vehar
As God spoke some awesome word through Chris on Sunday, the theme that stuck with me most is loving others like our God loves us, and how important this is. Our God is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness (Psalm 86.15). Loving God and our neighbors means we’re doing something right (James 2.8). All the law is fulfilled through love. We see this through God loving us so much that He sent Christ to fulfill the law, down to the commandments He gave us; The first: love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and with all your strength. The second: love your neighbor as yourself. There is no greater commandment than these. (Mark 12.30-31).
Let us love one another, for love is from God. Whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. If God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected in us. (1 John 4.7-8, 11-12)
Here we see that God IS Love. So when 1 Corinthians 13.1-8 tells me the characteristics of love/what it looks like – I know that since God is love, it is an interesting exercise to replace the word “love” with “God” when reading that passage:
God is patient, God is kind. God does not envy or boast, and is not proud. God does not dishonor others, God is not selfish. God is not easily angered and keeps no records of wrongs. God does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. God always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. God never fails.
And I am challenged when God tells me, “Could you put your name in there?” See, if we are to love like and look like Christ (letting Him use our lives as vessels so we can look more like Him each day in order for others to know Him through us) then shouldn’t we be able to put our names in there? Convicting, yet beautiful, right?! John 13.34-35 tells us: “This commandment I give to you: that you love one another, just as I have loved you. By this, all people will know that you are My disciples.” The way God loves us is unending – He took the death we deserved for our sins and defeated it instead – and continues to show us grace and mercy each and every day. I read somewhere once that “If mercy is God’s attitude to sinful men, love is His motive in all that He does with them; and as the mercy is ‘rich’ so the love is ‘great’. With this great love God loved us when He chose us, and it is on account of that love that He acts with us as He does.”
The way God loves us is fierce and intentional. God shows us His love through the passions and hearts He’s given us, the people He’s placed in our lives, and so much more. God seeks us out and runs after us because He knows us. I think when it comes to loving others like Christ, intentionality is key. Our love of God comes from an outpouring of who He is. Similarly, our love of others should come from an outpouring of who they are: Someone created in God’s image. Our acts of love should be motivated by God’s love for us! One way to show God we love Him is by loving others, and one way to show others we love them is by sharing God’s love. His love is beyond compare. If people are to know God through our love, then we have to love big! This is something God has really been teaching me a lot about lately. Intentionality, in it’s very nature, means investment. Investment of time to REALLY know a person so that you can love them best. Investment into who they are and who God created them to be. Investment into this journey to our God. Investment in the kingdom. Love chooses to see the best in others, not the worst. Love chooses to forgive, not judge. Love doesn’t show favoritism, it is merciful. Love chooses to prevail endlessly instead of having conditions. Like Romans 8 proclaims that NOTHING can separate us from love of God, loving like God means that our love never gives up – it never fails.
What a privilege and joy that He calls us to bring Him glory by having these characteristics of love. I think one of the most amazing things we can bring to God humbly is praising Him for WHO He is. As Brad reminded us on Easter, our God’s name is “I Am.” You can enter in anything good after “I Am” and God is it. I encourage you to exclaim 1 Corinthians 13.1-8 to Him in prayer (God, I praise You that You are patient, You are kind…). And then pray that He would make you look, and therefore live, like this so that others may know HIS love. Pray that He gives you eyes of vision to see others like He does, ears to listen and be intentional, feet to go where He calls you, hands to do works, and a heart of His love. I am praying all these things for you, too. God hears our heart-cries and He loves those who love Him – He will be found by the one who diligently seeks Him (Proverbs 8.17). And you can be assured He bursts with joy when we ask, “Father, I want to be more like You. Here’s my heart, Lord.”
Go with God (Love)!
Christina Vehar is a Choral Music Education major and Dance minor at Kennesaw State University, and a music teacher at The Harmony House. She serves with FLI, the hospitality team, and the worship team. She loves God and the sweet blessings He brings through fellowship with others, serving, school, being outdoors, her second home (Slovakia), and making each day an adventure!