What I will try to do here is to lift our eyes, yours and mine, beyond the early passages to the place Paul is going in the later part of the chapter and in chapter 14. What’s the big picture here? Love clearly is not something grandiose! It is not some squishy feeling! It is not for our own entertainment. Paul certainly details what it is not.
From the Old Testament, we have the Hebrew word hesed used throughout the works of history, prophesy, the Psalms, the first five books, etc. to describe love, loyalty and accountability in the context of relationship to God in covenant relationship. This Hebrew word is known as the “steadfast love of God,” which in Paul’s usage never fails on God’s part at least.
This “steadfast love” is an orderly love. This steadfast love leads to the “law of love,” to covenant with one another, and to accountability. In the Old Testament the king sits in the market place to see that God’s covenant is carried out both with Him and with His own. Love means relationship. Relationship can be spelled out in covenant ties to one another as duty and beyond duty.
We love with joy. We are to do what we do with the joy of the Holy Spirit in our heart, a sign of true love, hence 1 Corinthians 14: 39,40; “Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But (and this is a big one) everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way,” and not just to suit our own fancy. There needs to be the sense that we submit to Christ in all we do and hence to one another. For in 2 Corinthians 5: 4; 15-16 we find that “The love of Christ compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for him who died for them and was raised again.” This means we speak the truth in love to one another and submit to one another willingly and lovingly in Christ-like fashion.
The love of Christ then is in relationship to Him others with joy in an orderly way (in covenant) and in submission of our willful selves to God, to one another and to the Church.
Repent: List some places where you are not expressing love. Now, take them to the Lord in prayer. Admit your need for him to help you, and ask for a change of heart.