Characteristics of God’s Love (part 1)
The Holy Spirit placed the love of God in our spirit when we were born again. Every believer has the capacity to love with this agape love. But if the mind is not renewed as to the characteristics of this new kind of love, then it will not manifest as it should in the life of the believer. So if we’re going to live a lifestyle dominated by agape we must constantly acquaint our minds with what has been placed in our spirits by the Holy Spirit. Then there will be cooperation between the renewed mind and the spirit and your behavior will change!
Yesterday I addressed the love of God and it’s importance in our spiritual growth process. For the next few blogs, I want to examine in fair detail just what this love God has given us looks like and how it acts. So, let’s begin with 1 Corinthians 13 and bring some understanding and definition to this wonderful love of God.
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…(1 Corinthians 13: 4-8).
Notice that love suffers long. Makrothumia is the Greek word for long and means long tempered. It is the willingness to restrain yourself for the sake of another –giving up your own rights and privileges.
Long temperedness enables you to put up with those who do things that are potentially offensive and hurtful, and put up with it with a smile! Makrothumia is elsewhere in the New Testament translated patience! Every single day, we need patience with people! And the Father has placed makrothumia in our hearts to help us as we interact with those who lack the grace of kindness and social etiquette.
Next we read that love is kind. The Greek word for kindness is chrestotes , which means a gentleness that is active, not passive. Kindness is when we show active interest in others and their affairs, when we actively seek the welfare of another.
Kindness enables us to do things that bless, help and aid those who do not treat us well. Kindness helps us to do what Jesus said in Matthew 5:44: But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.
In her book The Life of Faith, Mrs. C. Nuzum says of this kindness, Love works by being kind even under long, continued suffering – real, deep suffering brought upon us by someone else – Love will be very kind to that person.1
Next we find that love does not envy. The Greek word for envy is the Word zeloo, and from this word we get our word our word jealous. Agape is not jealous in its relationships. A person walking in Agape is not focusing on themselves; they are focusing first of all on their relationship with the Lord, and they put themselves and their needs last. A jealous person is thinking only of themselves and how another person’s actions are affecting them! A person who is jealous is careful to hold on to and maintain their own rights and possessions at all costs.
Again, Mrs. C Nuzum comments, It [Agape] does not desire the position, honor, power, benefits, favor, esteem or blessings that others have, but is glad to see other people enjoy blessings, and would rather help them to get more than to take from them anything they have. 2
Make a decision today to walk in patience and kindness, and to desire that others be more blessed than you! We’ll continue this tomorrow!
The Life of Faith by Mrs. C Nuzum (Springfield, MS: Gospel Publishing House, 1928,1956) p. 84
Ibid. p. 84