Take a moment and read again today’s scripture above. Did you notice it? Right after Paul tells us about two things love is, he launches into a list of what love is not and leads off with jealousy. We’ve been focusing this week on jealousy and it’s destructive outcomes.
We often refer to 1 Corinthians chapter 13 as the “love chapter”. When I meet with couples to talk about their wedding ceremonies, this is the most requested scripture. If we’re not careful, we could interpret Paul’s writing to be simply poetic. In truth, Paul wrote these words to some early followers of Jesus, not to inspire them, but to call them up to a new way of relating. We should see these directives more as commands than sentiments. His carefully chosen words reveal what’s true: The human heart wants. Its natural gravitational pull is inward. But, as Jesus showed us, love is best expressed in an outward motion. Patience and kindness are things offered toward others. Outward motion. But pride, rudeness, irritability, and jealousy, in particular, are informed by that inward pull: I want and deserve what you have. I want to be mad at you without forgiving. I will only tolerate you. Our freewill is what makes our hearts prone to the inward pull. Only intentional thought and action can reverse it.
Pay close attention today to your heart. Are you noticing that inward pull? It can be reversed by the Father. His very nature is always flowing outward, always characterized by giving. James 1:17 in The Message says, Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. There is nothing He is asking you to create on your own. Just let His love flow freely through you.