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Love Redefined: Love Is . . .
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Love Redefined: Love Is . . .

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude
(1 Corinthians 13:4-5 NLT).

[THINK] We’ve talked about how 1 Corinthians 13 has a lot more to do with dating and just loving people in general than most people give it credit for. We’ve also said that the starting point for loving other people is understanding how much God loves you. Now we’re ready to move on.
Let’s dive into the chapter and see just how much advice the “love chapter” can give us when it comes to going out.

Love is patient and kind. Well, other than a guy waiting patiently for a girl who’s putting the finishing touches on her look (because girls are seldom ready on time), how can patience and kindness be a part of a guy/girl relationship?

Well, one key way is to patiently walk through the process of getting to know each other. This isn’t going to be easy because you’re going to want to fall in love. You’re going to want to let your emotions get carried away—you need to fight it! If you’re not patient, then your investigation into who this person really is will be totally off. You’re going to justify a lot of what he or she does because you’re “in love.” Don’t fall in love; walk into it wisely. Another way love is patient is to give the other person some room. This relationship shouldn’t consume your lives. So don’t let the fact that you’re going out be an excuse to pack away friendships, family, sports, jobs, church, even God, and become totally focused on each other. Part of what makes each of you interesting and unique is the richness of your other relationships. Plus when you aren’t patiently allowing the other person to have a life, you sometimes make that person your whole life. And then your bf/gf becomes an idol.

[MORE THINK] Love is not jealous. Usually in a relationship, jealousy shows up when one person is expecting the other to be something he/she is not. No matter how awesome the object of your affection is, he or she isn’t God. The support, encouragement, acceptance, even value they can give you has a limit. God’s the only one who can give all that to you—and more. You may be jealous of the time your bf/gf spends away from you, but it pales in comparison to the jealousy God feels for you. He wants to be in a relationship with you—and He wants that to be the most important relationship in your life.

[EVEN MORE THINK] Love is not . . . proud or rude. Love becomes proud when we look down on the other person, and don’t respect the uniqueness of this individual who God made distinctive from us with different skills, abilities, experiences, and perspectives. We think we’re doing the object of our affection a favor by being a part of his or her life, when it should be a mutually beneficially relationship.

Love is rude when it is self-centered and views people as objects existing for your benefit. That isn’t love at all. People are too valuable to God to become objects we use. When you view someone as an object or inferior to you, then your every action will be condescending and rude.

[NXT LVL] Respect is an important part of any relationship. Read 1 Timothy 5:1-2 and 1 Peter 2:17.


Reprinted with permission from YouthWalk magazine, © 2006 Walk Thru the Bible, Inc. To learn more about YouthWalk, visit www.youthwalk.org.

Tim Walker

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