It’s been raining out here in the Alaskan bush as I’ve been waiting to get weather decent enough to fly out from a little town on the Yukon River called Mountain Village.
To say this tour has been amazing is a major understatement!
The pleasure right through Anchorage and on the road system towns, a couple Bible colleges and beyond has been mine, truly.
So in staying with longtime friend Pastor Marc and his wife, on the wall across from my bed is the following (1 Corinthians 13) which I’ve noticed often for the past several days I’ve been here:
Ok, for plenty professing Christians no biggie, we’ve read it, heard it preached and etc., so what’s the big deal?
I’ve pondered this text for most of my life and yet this week what literally jumped out at me (I often say “He knows how to write on our wall”!) were the simple words “Love Never Fails”.
Now, some will beg to differ. You, I, they, have “failed in love”. Things started great but eventually went “south” regardless of circumstances. So did love actually fail?
Then comes an incredibly important question- “Whose love”? Theirs? Mine? Ours? God’s?
First a few bits of Greek and English to help stir the pot, because I think there is a massive and absolutely essential matter at core here.
The term “fails” sheds light on this simple phrase:
In use throughout scripture this word means to
[fall out of, to fall down from, to fall off, to fall from a thing, to lose it, to perish, to fall; to fall from a place from which one cannot keep, fall from a position, to fall powerless, to fall to the ground, be without effect of the divine promise of salvation.
Further, from Strongs: ἐκπίπτω ekpíptō, ek-pip’-to; from G1537 and G4098; to drop away; specially, be driven out of one’s course; figuratively, to lose, become inefficient:—be cast, fail, fall (away, off), take none effect.] (Bracketed quotes via blueletterbible.com)
If you live as a Christ-follower for any length of time you will know people who made commitments to Him who now fulfill the very term we are considering. It was not God’s love for them that grew cold, hard, distant, failed, but rather their love for Him.
I’m convinced Paul is talking about God’s love -and I’m saying His love versus what I’ll call human love (sans the love that only comes from God Himself) is at the heart of the issue and often, our problems.
GOD’S genuine love, that in His mind, heart and attitude toward us is perfect, unchanging and UNFAILING. Our “love” for Him, for one another? That my friends, is often flawed, flighty, at times sorely lacking, and plain insufficient in terms of eternity. God’s eternal Person (Father, Son, Spirit) is utterly flawless and without what scripture calls “sin” or even garden-variety selfishness. It is sacrificial (look no further than to Jesus on the cross for proof) and self-giving through and through. Our “love”? Not so much.
Fickle, Changing with the seasons, our emotions, whether or not our desires or deepest needs are met by another or (and sometimes rightly of course) our sense of respect or boundaries are honored and on all of this basis we will begin to maintain anything but love towards another person or group of them.
Human love at it’s best is a far cry from God’s love, plain and simple.
Our love fails.
God’s love? NEVER.
This does not mean He agrees with any of our sinful thoughts, words, behaviors nor our treatment of others. It does mean that unless and until we know Him, walk with Him in faith and surrender, until we see people with His eyes and love them with His love we are often kicking one another, kicking the ball into the stands rather than the goal.
My nickel on this is that God’s love really and truly never fails. Which is why without it no matter what we think we’ve accomplished in this life, we’re sunk.
Brutal inventory of our (in my case, my) lack, slack and sin, repentance (turning around… facing Him in faith in daily relationship) is the cure for a love that often truly fails.
Seeking Him, trusting Him, recognizing that His love is THE Love without which we’re merely “animals dressed-up” as my amazing mother-in-law used to say… I think this is the major answer to what ails us.
God is eternal and calls us to His eternal life and love in the risen Jesus Christ. My wish for you is what I wish for myself, my family and friends, even enemies:
God’s love and grace for the journey.
As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn