Kingdom of Love

Most of us are very familiar with 1
Corinthians 13. It is there that the apostle
Paul goes into great detail about the quality of
real love. Forasmuch as humanity has sought
to define and redefine love throughout history,
Paul—of course—actually has it right. Love is
not that feeling we get when we see someone
to whom we are attracted. Love is not that
sensation that sometimes overcomes us
when we hear a particular voice. Love is not
the response we may experience when a
person does for us something special. We
could call those reactions affection or
appreciation or lust or pleasure or a number
of other things. But we should not call them
love. That is not to say that such feelings do
not stem from a relationship built upon love. It
is to say, however, that the aforementioned
sentiments are not themselves love. This is
where humanity in general has gotten it
wrong, and continues to get it wrong.
Paul writes that love is filled with
patience and kindness. Love is a quality that
eschews jealousy and pridefulness, choosing
(important word!) instead to exhibit humility.
Where true love is, according to Paul, there is
no self-absorption, no haughtiness or conceit,
and definitely no disrespect, contempt, or
vulgarity. Also, in love there is a clear
absence of selfishness. Irritability and
annoyance are also lacking where true love is
present. In addition, love celebrates what is
right and what is holy. Love loves the truth.
Love even forms the foundation of belief,
hope, and perseverance. Love itself is

Real love is something that is
chosen. Yet without a life that is being
shaped by Jesus Christ, we are unable to
choose it. Without God in our lives and in
our hearts, we will never be able to be a
people who love as we are called to do in
Jesus Christ.
In Mark 12, Jesus is approached by
a scribe. Interestingly, this particular scribe
had earlier been listening to Jesus as
Jesus responded to a ‘trick’ question from
the Sadducees. The scribe is so impressed
by Jesus’s answer to the Sadducees that
he determines to ask Jesus a very
important question: “Which commandment
is the most important of all?” Jesus does
not delay in answering. He quotes from
scripture, assuring the scribe that love of
God and love of neighbor are the two most
important commandments. In order to
stress the significance of his response,
Jesus goes on to say, “There is no other
commandment greater than these.”
“There is no other commandment
greater than these.” Truer words were
never spoken. The absolute greatest thing
we can live out in our lives is love—love for
our great God, and love for all those with
whom we come into contact in this world.
To have faith is essential. And to live a life
of true hope is a (super) natural outcome
of our faith in God. But love reigns
Demonstrated dramatically in all its
perfection in Jesus as he was raised up on
the cross for the sins of the world, love is
the epitome of who God is. Because of
this, it is central to who we are called to be.
We cannot live for Jesus without it.

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