SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- This chapter defines real love -- both God's love and the love we give to others. Chances are, you have heard these verses recited at a wedding before, but there's a lot more to it.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- We learn that love is ultimate, and without love we are nothing and gain nothing.
- Paul goes as far to say that we can have all the gifts, talents, and faith in the world. But if we don't love others, our life is a waste.
- People often refer to love as a feeling, but we see here that it is actually an action. Love is... patient, kind, selfless, trusting, and so on. If we are to love, we must do something. This is why we see so many people "fall out of love." They are expecting something mushy and gooey, but love is work. Love is beautiful, but it's hard too.
- This love comes from God and is what we're looking for in life. It's also the kind of love we're supposed to offer to others. (See 1 John 4:7-12)
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- Read verses 4-7. Each time the word "love" or "it" appears, replace it with your name. Does it sound right? Does it describe you? Are you patient and kind? Do you not envy or boast? The goal is too be so close to God that His love flows into us and increasingly shapes us everyday.
- What action part of love do you need to work on today? Has someone wronged you and you need to forgive? Are you struggling with anger toward a family member and you need to let go? Do you want to just give up on your marriage instead of persevere? Did someone cut you off in traffic and you want to retaliate with the gift of a finger? Whatever it is, let God's love consume you today so that you are then full to offer love to others, no matter the difficult situation.
- We often spend time with the people we love the most. So, how much time are you spending with God? The more time you spend in prayer and in his Word, the more his love can flow through you.