October 16, 2020
When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 1 Corinthians 13:11 NLT
When we take our children to the pediatrician, the doctor examines them carefully to see if they are growing correctly. She knows there are certain markers they should reach at each stage of growth to be healthy. If the child isn’t talking correctly, a corrective plan will be established. If the little one is underweight, measures will be taken to fix that. The doctor doesn’t simply record what’s happening, she recommends actions for specific areas that are not where they should be for the age of the child. A loving parent cooperates and goes to work on the issue.
In the earlier verses of 1 Corinthians 13, Paul has given us a spiritual exam through the assistance of the Holy Spirit. John 16:8-9 records Jesus saying that the Holy Spirit’s job is to convict us of sin; the places that are not healthy in our lives, so we can work with God to make them right. As we heard the message, studied the Word, read the verses with our name in them in place of the word “love,” likely the Holy Spirit pressed on one or two places that made us wince. We became aware that in a few places we are still childish. We are excusing ourselves for our lack of patience, our irritability, or any of the other characteristics of love. Paul is saying, “Look, you should be further along by now. Do you want to be treated as an adult, as a mature person, a capable follower of Jesus Christ? Well, you need to put away those childish things. You need to work together so that you will be healthy and exhibit mature love.”
Mature love is love that is focused on the needs of the other person. When Jesus told us that He came to fulfill the law, He told us what the new covenant with us meant. He said that all the Old Testament laws were fulfilled through putting our faith in Him. Now the law could be summarized in two commands: Love God with all we have, and then love others the way He has loved us.
How has Jesus loved you? He gave Himself for you, even when you didn’t deserve it. He decides ahead of time to forgive you for your sins and mistakes. He is patient, providing for all your needs. He is comforting. He never gives up on you. He always sees a hopeful future with you. What else can you add? THAT’S what mature love looks like, and what we are supposed to share with the people in our lives. We put away our childish focus on ourselves and begin to look to their needs. How can doing that change your marriage? Your home? Our world?
- Pray: Jesus, Your love for me is astounding. You love me at my worst and encourage me at my best. You will love me to the end. Help me grow up in You, put away my childish things, and love You and the people You have placed in my life to the end. Amen.