CHARACTERISTICS OF DIVINE LOVE
1 Corinthians 13:1-8 KJV: Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. (2) And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. (3) And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. (4) Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, (5) Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; (6) Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; (7) Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. (8) Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
Here the Holy Spirit through Paul reveals to us God’s character: love.
1John 4:8 KJV: He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
In verses 1-3 we are told that all GIFTS, TALENTS AND RESOURCES (FINANCIAL AND MATERIAL) ARE OF NO VALUE if the use of them is not motivated and administered with the character of divine love.
Divine love shows us how God relates to us and all created beings and so how we are to relate to one another.
Hebrews 11:6 KJV: But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
1John 3:22-23 KJV: And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. (23) And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.
John 20:31 KJV: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
It is the life of God that gives us the wisdom, compassion and power to behave as God would in every situation.
However, is crucial to understand that while divine life is imparted INSTANTANEOUSLY when you get born-again (2 Cor. 5.17) and whenever you subsequently ask God for it (2 Pet. 1.4); divine LOVE is developed GRADUALLY over time through habitual confession (saying it with your mouth), meditation (saying it in your heart with a determination to practice it) and practice (Dt. 30.14).
These characteristics of divine love described here are actually the fruit of the Spirit in action in our interactions with God and other men:
Galatians 5:22-23 KJV: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, (23) Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
1Corinthians 13:4-7 AMP: Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. (5) It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. (6) It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. (7) Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].
In our article next week, we look in more detail at these characteristics of divine love.