“Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:8a, nkjv).
There is one word that will offer help and healing to your most important relationships: Love.
Love is relational dynamite that obliterates all obstacles in its path. Love is an action before it’s a feeling, and it leans into the work of seeing people change. Don’t be misled: making the choice to love can be the easiest part of the process. Putting it into practice will require God’s help and the best you have to offer.
“Love leans into the work of seeing people change.”
And it will be worth every minute. The powerful profile of love offered in 1 Corinthians 13 closes with this confidence: “Love never fails.” But love never fails to what?
Love never fails to conquer selfishness.
We never have to work at being selfish; it’s just right there, barking for attention. And nothing brings our selfishness to the surface faster than living in close proximity with people. Love conquers this obstacle. Characteristics of selfishness are being impatient, mean, demanding, envious, boastful, unreasonable, and resentful. But love “is patient and kind . . . does not envy or boast . . . is not arrogant or rude . . . does not insist on its own way . . . is not irritable or resentful” (1 Corinthians 13:4–5, esv).
Love never fails to conquer skepticism.
In seasons of relational discord, it’s easy to doubt that anything will ever change. But when a family member or someone you care about disappoints you and you want to bail, love holds on. Love does not sell out or run away in a crisis. And love is not skeptical. It believes the best in a person, works for their good, waits for God’s agenda to be accomplished in their life—and He uses that love to transform that person.
Loves never fails to practice flat-out persistence.
“Love bears all things, believes all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7). Because love isn’t skeptical, it keeps moving forward. It doesn’t give up or keep score. Love tries again, trusts again, and finds a way to give an opportunity for God to work.
“[Love] hopes all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7c). Love can hardly wait for someone to become the person God is making her—and amazingly, it does wait. Love is always hopeful, believing the best, that the Lord’s purposes are being accomplished.
“[Love] endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7d). In our wounded moments we think, No one will ever do that to me again. But those words are not a loving statement. When we say them, we’ve forgotten how desperately we hope others will give us another chance when we fail. Love is always part of the solution.
When we choose not to love, we become an obstacle in God’s way. When we choose to love, we become a tool in God’s hands to transform the lives of those around us.
Start doing the selfless things, the persistent things, the hopeful things, the enduring things—and you will be practicing the love that never fails.
Lord, I know I don’t have the strength to love like this. I’m not under any illusion that my intentions alone amount to much. Father God, I know You are love, You are my capacity to love, and Your Son, Jesus, exemplifies selflessness. You demonstrate the power of giving Yourself. So I ask that Your power would be demonstrated in my life and through me. Cause Your power to be my experience and let it play a part in transforming those around me. Please teach me to love. Help me to love. Strengthen my love, I pray. In Jesus’ mighty name, amen.