Love never looks back, but keeps going to the end. Love never dies. 1 Corinthians 13, MSG
In the last several weeks, I have gone through the various aspects of love that Paul speaks of in 1 Corinthians 13. Today, I wrap up the truth about that elusive and often misunderstood “Love Chapter.” We now know the love we are called to show, the love that reflects God and His Son requires patience, kindness, has no room for envy, or selfishness; and desires the truth be heard and told.
We all want love. We all want to be loved. Even more-we all want a love that never ends. But are we looking in the wrong places? Are we rejecting the One who can deliver on this?
Love. It is the thing we all crave. We all want to feel connected to someone who accepts us. Every messy part. Love is one of our deepest desires, and can also be one of our deepest hurts. Because we often focus on earthly love. The kind we desperately seek from each other. The kind that often disappoints. Too busy at times to meet our needs. It doesn’t always put up with our flaws, or even accept us. It can sometimes be selfish, and fail us.
And it fails us because we forget its source.
Its source comes from the love of the Father. Our Heavenly Father.
It’s the thing that God purposed, because it was important to Him-for us to know love. So important the word alone appears 551 times in the New International Version of the Bible. It is mentioned in relation to God’s presence. It is mentioned to describe how He expects us to love others. It is more than just a mere word.
The word “love” is thrown around between people all the time. It is used to quantify how we feel about things, and flippantly said to people. For instance, I say all the time I love tacos. I could eat tacos every day. I enjoy many versions of tacos, and I like to cook them-a lot.
Yes, love is a really strong word. Not the same as “like.” See, because I really only like tacos. I am not so sure I should be using “love” to describe how fond I am of them.
This is why: It cheapens the full extent of what love truly is. When I say I love this, or I love that; or say “I love you, too” out of obligation; It is often due to what I am getting out of that thing, or from that someone.
See, tacos feed me. They don’t provide any additional support beyond my plate. No…that kind of “love” only feeds my cravings and desires.
And it will most certainly die. When that craving or desire for that thing fades, so will the “love.”
Because love is more than mere words. It’s more than a mere desire or craving. It doesn’t die away once the need is met; and it’s not waiting around to get something in return. Jesus loved and cared for a number of people who could never give Him anything in return. There wasn’t anything Jesus needed, besides others to just know His Daddy. And His Daddy went through great lengths to make sure we knew His love was for real. Unfailing, and would never die.
God went that far for us because loves goes the distance. It goes the extra mile. And it goes after that which has been lost.
I recall this story told one Sunday morning during a missions service at church. I can’t recall the speaker, but I do recall him telling a story of a woman who would enter the church each Sunday, sit on the front row, and save a seat for her loved one. In the hopes they would one day be seated next to her.
Because love goes the distance. It shows up. Even if it is in vain each and every time, with the expectation that one day, the one we love will show up beside us, part of our Heavenly family.
She was serious about it, and He was, too. So serious about it, He has been in heavy pursuit of you since the beginning. Long before you ever knew of Him. Long before you may ever accept Him, and He continues to pursue us. To woo us, until we finally say yes.
Love goes the extra mile. It doesn’t get to this point and decide-nope. This is as far as I will come to get to that one. It goes further and further and further. Reaching and reaching and reaching, until it is finally accepted.
“Suppose one of you had a hundred sheep and lost one. Wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the lost one until you found it? When found, you can be sure you would put it across your shoulders, rejoicing, and when you got home call in your friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Celebrate with me! I’ve found my lost sheep!’ Count on it—there’s more joy in heaven over one sinner’s rescued life than over ninety-nine good people in no need of rescue.” Luke 15:4-7, MSG
Like that. He pursues the one, over the 99 that already know Him, just so that lost one will know His love. Yes, it is THAT serious to Him.
It surrenders all. All its own needs, wants, and wishes. It’s hatred, jealousy, and feelings. Its own son. Its own life.
Love is often unexplainable. Not measurable. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, and it can seem reckless to the one who doesn’t know the unfailing love of God. They can’t understand why we would keep going, sacrifice ourselves so someone could know who He is, and how much He loves. It looks reckless to those who don’t believe. It just won’t make sense.
Because God’s love is what is referred to as “agape” love. Making a conscious choice to love someone unconditionally. Willfully desire the best for them. Place their needs above yours. Unfailingly.
Paul was right when he stated that love kept going to the end, because the love of God has no end. It reaches into the darkest places to yank us out into the light. Forgiving. Redeeming. And never bringing the past up again.
That kind of love is the kind of love that’s undying, and its offered to you from the only One who can truly keep the promise: “I will never leave you or abandon you?” (Hebrews 13:5) He is pursuing you. Everyday. Are you going to finally say “yes” to His undying love?