Thinking about God’s standard for Perfect Love and the desire to be perfected in such love as we grow:1 Corinthians 13: 3-13 (From The Message)3 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.…4-7 Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.8-10 Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.11 When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.
12 We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
13 But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love, ”Still a work in progress, moving toward completeness in love….Perfect love, agape’ love, the kind of sacrificial love God has for us and that he modeled for us in the life of Christ, and that he extends to us and through us by the power of God’s Holy Spirit is a Completed Love that is a standard too high to achieve through one’s own effort. It can only be approached through ever-increasing surrender of all of one’s SELF (heart, soul, mind, and strength) to God.
We need another word besides “love” for the kind of sappy emotional attachments that are all about indulging one’s own “lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life.” The Greeks had a word for the physical passion kind of love…eros, and it can easily slide into lust and obsession.. It bears no resemblance to the agape’ love of God for humankind and us for God. They had “philia” , love of a brother for a brother, generally of equal status with personal familiarity, as in loyal friendship. They had “storge”, love like that between a parent and a child or, interestingly that kind that also describes the love that puts up with and bears with someone for whom love is difficult or at a distance without personal familiarity…as in love for leaders or sports heroes, one’s hobbies, etc.. “LOVE” alone, unexamined and without qualifiers is thrown around too lightly, is too easily misunderstood and leads to really bad decisions.