The end of Luke 9 shows us that Jesus was direct and honest about what it took to follow him. But He was just as straightforward about what would come if someone was willing to do the hard work and keep their priorities straight.
We are quick to love people through some things. We can believe to a point and have hope until we are disappointed again. We will endure if we feel the payoff is worth it. But Paul calls us to a kind of love that stays in the ring in all things.
In the middle of Paul’s list of love there are three statements which, at first, can seem out of place. It is a list of things that love does not do. The root of these three actions is pride, something that has no place in love.
Ultimately, Jesus said, His believers are known by their love. He said the greatest thing we can do is love God and love our neighbor. To love is to lay down our preferences, what we think we are owed, our comfort, and yes, our “rights.”
Love is shown in the little actions of our days. It is the ways we treat people either with respect or like they are beneath us. Do we honor those we disagree with or leave people behide in our quest to be right?
There is this toxic idea out there that love is all about me. If one day a person stops fulfilling my needs, I can leave because I am unsatisfied. But love with you in the center is not love, it is narcissism and arrogance.
I cannot love you and envy what you have. I cannot love you and be jealous of your position, your marriage, your home life, your children, your place. Envy left unchecked can lead to a lifetime of covetousness. Jealousy, envy, comparison, coveting - they are off-shoots of the same weed. And love frees us from all of them
It is by our actions, what we do and what we do not do, that God is displayed in the world. When we are willing to step in and love for the long haul or be kind to one who simply is not God is given space and the ability to change people (and us).
The outward signs of our faith are of little value unless we are grounded, rooted, fully embedded into God’s love. Paul gives us a "more excellent way" as we start our study of 1 Corinthians 13.