Love never fails – 1 Corinthians 13:8
I like to win. I like to win in sports. I like to win in life. I like to win in business. I like to win people to Jesus. I like to win with people. I think most people do. The bible gives us the key to winning in everything. That key is Love.
You see, love never fails. So, if you employ love in everything you do, you will not fail. In other words, you will always win. It’s the power of Love
I remember that as I sat in my office at the Health Department one day, that I got a phone call from the front desk letting me know that I had a visitor. They sent her back to my office. She was a very large woman. With her was a almost-as-large American-Indian looking man with long hair pulled back into a pony tail. Before I could say hello she proceeded to cuss me up one way and down the other. She took a good while doing it, because I remember that I had plenty of time to think about what my reaction was going to be when she was through. The thing she was accusing me of was completely baseless and I could have easily stood up and shouted back at her, but I knew that love always wins. So I decided to employ love here.
I did my very best to control my emotions and my facial expression. I nodded my head as she cussed me as if I agreed with her. After she was finished I said to her, “I agree with you. Nobody should be teaching your daughter that prostitution is a good thing.” I remember that as I sat there enduring the shower of curse words, that I purposed in my heart that I was genuinely going to handle this situation in love. I wasn’t going to be a smart-aleck. I wasn’t going to use false kindness. I was going to be genuinely kind and walk in genuine love as if the the soul of this woman mattered to God, because it does.
To make a long story short, by the end of our little visit together we were friends. She even asked if she could call me if she had any questions about how to deal with her teenage daughter! Love won!
Coolest thing about love winning is that it usually wins for both sides. Glory to God!
Jesus commanded us to love one another. But he takes it one step further than just telling us to love one another. He says this:
My command is this: love each other AS I HAVE LOVED YOU. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for his friends. – John 15:12-13
Jesus says to love like He loved. Now, while that certainly clears things up for us, it also makes things difficult for us. Jesus’ love was serious business. His love was the lay-down-your-life kind of love.
Lets talk about that kind of love.
1. Jesus’ love was genuine. Jesus really loved people. He didn’t pretend to love people to get brownie points or to elevate Himself. He simply loved people. So many times throughout the gospels we see Jesus being moved with compassion:
But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. -Matthew 9:36
Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” -Mark 1:41
And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick. – Matt 14:14
His heart grieved for the human race. When His friend Lazarus had died and He was brought to the house where the people were mourning their loss, the bible says twice that He groaned in spirit. Then it says that He wept. His heart was broken for the lost state of the human race. Even though He could solve this immediate problem by raising Lazarus from the dead, there would be many more instances coming that would have no immediate solution. He groaned for the pain of all man-kind.
2. Jesus’ love was tough for the hardened, but gentle for the broken. Jesus is described as both a hard man and a gentle man (Mt 25:24, Mt 11:29). Everything He did was done in love, since He is love. Love can be tough sometimes and that is needed. Love also needs to be gentle at times. Jesus always knew just what kind of love was needed in every circumstance.
Jesus called the Pharisees whitewashed grave tombs, yet he spoke gently to the woman at the well who had had five husbands and was presently living in sin. Jesus turned over the money-changers tables in the temple and used a whip of cords to drive them out, yet he forgave the thief on the cross and ate dinner with a crooked tax collector. Jesus called the religious leaders children of the devil, but received the little children and said, “of such is the kingdom of heaven.” And in the book of Revelation, in the letters written to the churches there, He calls some wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked, but then gently urges them to answer the door of their heart, of which He has been knocking.
Our God may be ‘gentle and lowly in heart,’ but He is also a ‘consuming fire.’ Those who have hardened their hearts should fear for His wrath is great, but those who are broken before Him should be reassured – He will not leave them, nor forsake them.
3. Jesus’ love is demonstrative. Jesus wasn’t in the business of speaking one thing with His mouth and doing another thing with His life. Jesus’ love was always in demonstration. His life was one big demonstration of love continually. His entire life was a completely selfless living sacrifice, until His ultimate sacrifice, when He paid for our sins upon the cross.
Jesus’ love compelled him to action. This love was also present in those who represent Him, as Paul wrote about in 2 Corinthians 5:14:
For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if one died for all, then all died.
Jesus saw a lost human race that hurried towards destruction. He does not want any one to perish, but all to come to the knowledge of the truth. His life was (and is) a constant demonstration of His desire to see all men saved. His death is forever an emblem of true and faithful love.
Jesus also demonstrated His love in His healing ministry. Jesus didn’t just heal people to show that He was God. If that were the case, a few big healings would be enough. No, Jesus would spend long hours as multitudes would come to him to be healed. He took the time to heal each one. This is the love of our great God.
Jesus has called us to love like this. We need to examine our lives. Do we love like Jesus did?
Someone might think that such a life of love is impossible. Well, in our own ability, yes it is. But, it is not impossible when we employ the love of God that has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Jesus would not command us to love like He did unless He would be willing to provide the means for us to do so.
the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. – Romans 5:5
When we walk in the spirit, the love of God is there for us to walk in, as well. When we walk in it we will always win. We will win for ourselves. We will win for others. We will win for Jesus.