We’ve got your daily encouragement, written by Aaron Martell.
1 Corinthians 13:5
Love is not self seeking.
As we’ve been looking at what love is, there’s no doubt defining love is necessary. Because when we use that word in different contexts- I love cheeseburgers, I love the Green Bay Packers, I love my wife, and I love God- they may all have the same word, love, but the depth of understanding isn’t the same. At least I hope not. Because I’m pretty sure my wife would be offended if my love for her was comparable to my love for the Packers.
So yes, defining love is necessary. But there is something just as important in defining love, and that’s the intention of love. This is where I think we can get confused. Paul wrote in his infamous love chapter about many intentions of love, one of which is that love is not self-seeking.
Think about that for a second. If your intention to “love” is for your own gain, that’s not love, that’s manipulation. You are striving to love so you can get something out of it. If I love my wife by doing the dishes and cleaning up the kitchen in order that she will give me something I want; go to the game, have a guy’s night, or even being intimate later, that’s self-seeking love, and I would argue isn’t love at all. Besides, notice how Jesus described how we should love in Philippians 2:3-8, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!”
Jesus loved by stepping aside from his selfish gain, sacrificed, gave himself up to illustrate, demonstrate, express love differently. Now what? So many times we can say, “What does it mean to have the courage to love well?” I think the first clue of that answer is to have an honest look at your intention to love.
If your intention to love is to get something out of it or for it to be self-seeking, that’s where we have to have the courage to ask ourselves, “Why do I need self-seeking love in this situation or relationship?” Then it’s saying, “How can I be selfless … sacrificial in my love?” That I will love, not for personal gain, simply love because that’s what I’m called to do. Love with an open heart and open hand with nothing expected in return.
Dear Heavenly Father, your son gave us, selfless love through his life, death, and resurrection. Which means he gave us the model of what it meant to not have a self-seeking love. May his sacrificial love be my example and may I have the courage to examine the ways I love and have it reflect more of you and less of my manipulated ways. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Time of prayer- Spend time with God, asking him, “what’s my intention in loving others? Why do I need self-seeking love? How can I be selfless in loving others?” Put it into action- Step out from yourself and do something with no expectation of it being reciprocated. How can you serve someone with an open heart and open hand with no expectation of something in return?
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