Enduring Love: Sanctified Unselfishness

January 29, 2019

“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; loves does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own…”  (I Corinthians 13:4-7)

The Greek words for “love suffers long” are often translated patience, but they actually prescribe a merciful, unconditional love – a love that does not avenge itself, even when it has the right and opportunity to do so. The Greek word for kindness means love is easy – easy to approach, easy to live with, sweet, good and does good things.

Love does not envy.” The Greek words Paul used here prescribe “an unselfish and unconditional commitment to another’s well-being.”

In other words: sanctified unselfishness.

Those applying this love are not only concerned about the welfare of the one they love, but they have made a deliberate and unconditional commitment to their happiness. Their love commitment is not, ‘I love me and I need you” or “You love me and so do I.” They are saying by their love actions, “I am fiercely committed to your well-being and happiness; my love for you is not based on, controlled, or even influenced by the ways you do, or do not, love me.”

Think of how critically this quality of love is needed when a spouse has Alzheimer’s disease, a stroke, accident, or illness.

The biggest problem in relationships can be summed up in one word: selfishness. Therefore, the greatest cure for relational problems can also be summarized in one word: unselfishness.

This love virtue of unselfishness is repeated for emphasis and listed between good manners and being unflappable, because Paul wants to underscore in our hearts that as conduits of the love of Christ:

Love does not seek its own (way.)” 

Dick Woodward, from A Prescription for Love


Prescription for Looking Around

February 6, 2015

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22)

According to the Apostle Paul, if the Holy Spirit of God lives in us, when we look in we will find unique qualities of love, joy, and peace coming out of our life.  When we look up we will discover a faithfulness, gentleness and self-control that will equip us to walk with God as we should.  Then when we look around we will find unique qualities of patience, kindness and goodness equipping us to have the kind of relationships our God wants us to have with people.

In our relationship with God patience could be described as “faith waiting.” In our relationships with people – especially our children or spiritual children – patience could be described as “love waiting.” The patience that is the fruit and evidence God’s Spirit living in us is a supernatural quality and does not come from our genetic heritage.  We do not have this patience because we inherited a ‘laid back, easy does it’ disposition from one or both of our parents.  It must be emphasized that this patience is a supernatural expression of the Spirit of God living in us.

The same can be said for a quality of kindness and goodness we discover when we relate to people with whom we are in relationships.  Kindness means that we treat people with whom we interact as if they were our kin.  Goodness means that we do good things and react in good ways in our relationships.

If the Holy Spirit of God lives in you, are you willing to find in these three supernatural qualities of the Holy Spirit a prescription that will govern your life when you look around?

Dick Woodward, 23 November 2010