I have to say it's so great to be back on CFS and enjoying some fellowship here so I thought I'd share another little sermon for some 'food for thought' hoping that it's on the correct board. If God IS Love and His primary command is for us to love one another then it's pretty important we know the true definition of Love as it's the first fruit in which the Lord desires we grow. Now just in case there are any young believer reading this, the below is an explanation of the true definition of God and His Love in 1st Corinthians 13 and you might think that you're almost nothing like that when it comes to loving others but please don't worry. The only way we can grow is by the leading, teaching and transformation of the Holy Spirit and since our secondary call is to Grow in The Grace of God, it's up to the Holy Spirit to birth this kind of love within us. Most experienced Christians will agree, it can take some time... The below is barely even a glimpse of the breadth and depth of his love, it’s a love which is above all callings (and yet I show unto you a more excellent way) and any gifting, it’s a love He has for every individual and the love he wishes to express through his body, the church. So, I hope my feeble attempt to explain God Himself will encourage you but more than that here's a thought. If God, wants us to display this kind of Love I'm about to write, then surely this is the way He is and feels toward us? He'd be contradicting Himself wouldn't He if He didn't feel this way toward you. GOD LOVES YOU LIKE THIS....... “…Firstly Paul said “Love suffers long” The word long describes something that will burn for a long, long time, like a candle that will not burn out, like passionate feelings for someone which don’t easily run dry but instead just keeps going and going even if it’s not responded to. Agape love, God’s love, doesn’t easily throw in the towel and quit on someone. In fact the harder the fight, the longer the struggle, the more committed God’s love becomes. God’s love is slow to anger, slow to wrath, this is the divine love of God which transforms lives. Secondly Paul said “Love is kind” The word here means to be adaptable to the needs of others. Rather than demanding people be like you, God’s love bends over backwards to become what a person needs them to be. God’s love has a willingness to serve and change to meet the needs of others which is contrary to human nature which is self-centred and selfish. We must look in the mirror and ask ourselves, do we become what others need us to be or do we demand others be like us. God’s love is always reaching out, thinking of the needs of others, God is always a God who becomes what people need him to be, if one needs a Father, a Brother, a Saviour or a Friend, God will meet those needs and more. (1 Cor 9:22) “…..to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews…..to the weak I became weak, that I might gain the weak, I am made all things unto all men, that I might by all means save some…….” Thirdly, “Love envy’s not” The word envy here means to be radically consumed with one’s own desires and plans, willing to sacrifice anything or anyone to get what it wants. This describes someone who is self-centred and ambitious who is consumed with himself without the thought for others. Real Agape love, God’s love, doesn’t think of itself first but is always thinking of the other person rather than itself. Real Agape love asks, am I committed to seeing others blessed or is my own cause above everyone else? The Love of God will always seek to see others blessed. Fourth, “Love vaunts itself not” The word vaunt simply means a lot of self talk. This describes a person who promotes himself and exaggerates his own virtues even to the point of lying. Vaunting carries with it the implication of a hidden agenda, to receive bigger gains or positions. God’s love doesn’t behave itself like that, God’s love is so sure, so confident that it doesn’t need to speak of itself or its own accomplishments. The love of God would not act in this way, rather it would focus on another’s accomplishments to build them up and help them feel strong and secure. Fifth, “Love is not puffed up” The phrase puffed here means to be proud or swollen or to be full of hot air with very little substance. This describes a person who can believe that their feelings and revelations are so great that they are in a separate realm. Agape love has a willingness to submit to others and allow others to have attention and receive glory. God’s love never wants to see others put down or be the centre of attention, agape love seeks the joy of others. Sixth, “Does not behave itself unseemly” The word used here is the Greek word for “ugly”, the love of God would never behave itself in an ugly manner. Christian lives are a public message, the unsaved listen to what we say and watch what we do. If Christians say they care and yet their actions prove the opposite, it’s unlikely God’s love is present. Seventh, “Love seeks not its own way” Agape love would never seek its own way, human nature through the flesh can be selfish and manipulative, seeking its own way all the time and quite often at the expense of others. A person who seeks their own way tends to be dishonest, having a hidden agenda, speaking half-truths and white lies. God’s love would never act in this way, God’s love would never be secretive, speak half-truths or demand its own way. God’s love is open, kind, gentle and trusting. Eighth, “Love is not easily provoked” Easily provoked here means to be touchy, irritable and easily offended, attributes which all mark the human nature. People who get offended can withdraw from others and get upset from not receiving from others what they expected. God’s love would not think in this way, God’s love expects nothing because instead of wanting and wanting, God’s love just wants to give and give. Ninth, “Love thinks no evil” Thinks no evil in this sense is a book-keeping term which means to keep a record of wrongs. God’s love can’t flip back the pages of past offences, it cannot remember grievances, like God it chooses to forget and not bring them up again. Human nature can have a hard time releasing those who have wronged them, with God’s love we can forgive, set things at peace and make things right. Tenth, “Love bears all things” The word bears here is like a roof top cover or a foundation which supports a house. God’s love wouldn’t expose the flaws in others to put them down. God covers them, conceals and protects them, real Agape love gets under them and supports them. This means God’s love would never speak behind others backs or expose another’s weak places even if it knows bad things about them. Eleventh, “Love believes all things” The phrase in the Greek here means to believe the very best in every situation or to reach forward and believe with all might. That doesn’t mean God’s love is naive and blind but rather than dwell on the negative things it prefers to strain to see the good, to see the best in a person rather than focusing on their flaws. Human feelings can see men with criticism and picking apart, God’s love just keeps believing in them and believing in them no matter what. Twelfth, “Love endures all things” Endures all things here means it will never quit, that means it will never be offended to the point of saying I am finished, I’m out of here. God’s love chooses to say that I am here whether you appreciate me or not. The real love of God says that I’m committed to you, to stay with you, to work it out no matter how long it takes." GOD LOVES YOU LIKE THIS!!!