By Lynn Jones
People talk about good ways that you ought to live. Paul does not just write about a good way to live, but he writes about “the most excellent way” to live (1 Cor. 12:31) He says that it is the way of love, and in this classic passage that he wrote in 1 Corinthians 13, he talks about love.
After saying that doing things out of love is the only acceptable motive for your actions, he then talks about this kind of love. It is not enough to talk about love in vague generalities. When you look at the light around you, the light is clear and without color. But the light around you is composed of different colors of light. If you take a prism and look at the light around you, the prism will bend the light and show you that it is made up of different lengths and colors of light. It is made up of light that is red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.
That is the way with love. When you break it down, it is made up of specific actions. We must demonstrate love in specific things that we do. We cannot just give lip service to love. We must demonstrate it in our lives.
A man came to a check-out counter in a store, and the clerk did not say a word to him. She rang up his purchases, took his money, and handed him his receipt. The man said to her, “Aren’t you going to tell me, ‘Have a nice day”? He said that she grabbed the receipt out of his hand, pointed to the bottom of it and growled, “Look, Buster, it’s printed right there.”
Well, it’s one thing to hand someone a piece of paper that says, “Have a nice day,” but it is quite another thing to convey to people that you genuinely want them to have a nice day. And it’s easy to hand a card to people on special occasions that tells them that you love them, but it is quite another thing to let them know by your actions that you love them. You should demonstrate that love in specific ways.
This is what Paul said in verses 4-7: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
We sometimes say, “He talks a good game, but he doesn’t play a good game.” That’s the way with love. You can’t just talk about love on the sidelines. You must put it into practice on the playing fields of your life.
Lynn Jones is a retired pastor who lives in Oxford. He does supply preaching for churches in his area and often serves as an interim pastor. Jones is also an author, has written two books and writes a weekly newspaper column. He may be contacted at: email@example.com.