In this day and age, love is most always thought of as an emotion, and sadly, cannot often be distinguished from lust. Yet, love in its purest form is something one gives for the betterment of the one loved, whereas lust is for my satisfaction alone. Because our culture has blended the two together, making them indistinguishable, we have a hard time understanding what God’s love, the purest love, looks like.
I Corinthians 13 continues to describe this uncompromising love in this way: Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
What this means is that Jesus’ love is always for our very greatest good, and therefore, his love will never choose to act in any way that would be evil or detrimental or harmful to us. Ever. There is and never will be “Even though what I did wasn’t right, it worked out for the best in the end.” You will never hear Jesus say, “My passions caused me to act this way – I never meant to hurt you.” You will never find Jesus lying or exaggerating the truth in order to get what he wants. Jesus’ love will never compromise in order to love, and his love will never harm the one loved for the sake of his pleasure. Never. Because of his love, every thought, word, or action toward us can only be born out of that which is for our greatest good. Jesus’ love will never have a selfish motive.
Jesus began to show this aspect of his amazing love for us even before the world of his day ever knew who he was. Before Jesus began to preach and teach among the people, God sent him into the desert for 40 days alone. During that time, alone and hungry, the devil came to him and tempted him to mistrust God and make his own way in the world. Each time, Jesus chose to do as God had said, and rejected the devil’s temptations. On three separate occasions, Satan tempted him. The first time he told Jesus he should “take care of number one” by using his power to make food out of nothing to feed his stomach; then he later suggested he show his power and ability to the world by making himself known among the people through sensationalism; and finally he came to Jesus and offered him great power and riches if he would only turn from God to serve him. He didn’t want to win us by impressing us. He didn’t want a kingdom by force. Out of his uncompromising love for his Father and for us, he chose to instead become a servant who gave to the point of death. (Matthew 4:1-11)
He wasn’t guilty of the charges that sent him to his death, but because of his uncompromising love for his Father and for us, he chose to become the martyr for our treachery against God, who also cannot delight in evil (whether “white lie” kind of evil, or “murdering in cold blood” kind of evil), and through this one act bridge the chasm we had fashioned between us and God, formed by our giving allegiance to our own way rather than to him (this treachery is called “sin”). Jesus’ act of martyrdom first destroyed the power of sin over us, and then made a way for us to be able to experience God’s love in relationship with him.
Such lavish love is also described in I Corinthians 13 as: “Love always protects, trusts, always hopes. always perseveres. [His] Love never fails. Once we become the object of his love, he is tenacious and unrelenting in his pursuit of us. We, the objects of his love become his to protect and care for. And when we fail him, his love perseveres until we call out to him for forgiveness and are restored in relationship with him.
Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands.
I haven’t always understood the depth of this kind of love. It is foreign to me. Yet, the more of Jesus I experience, the more I recognize this love he gives. His love brings me life!
Jesus, I can’t really wrap my mind around this kind of love. But you say that this is who you are. I don’t understand, and frankly, I haven’t found love to be this way. If what you say is true, would you please show me who you are, and what this kind of love looks like? Please. In Jesus’ name, Amen