Today I write to you on the subject of God’s love. A book that I highly recommend that every Christian read is called, “The Greatest Thing In The World” by Henry Drummond. In this blog post, I will be quoting a lot of what he says in this book. Many times throughout the bible we come across the word love. The Apostle Paul wrote about this subject throughout most of his epistles. In 1 Corinthians 13 he introduces us to the definition of this kind of love. In science we have all seen what happens when light passes through a crystal prism. As the light passes through, it comes out on the other side of the prism broken up into its component colors – red, blue, yellow, violet, orange, and all the colors of the rainbow. In the same way, Paul passes this virtue – love – through the magnificent prism of his inspired intellect, and it comes out on the other side broken up into its elements. In this passage of scripture we come across a few words that make up this spectrum of love. In this spectrum we see 9 ingredients.
The Spectrum of Love
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (KJV)
4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8 Charity never faileth…
The 9 ingredients of love:
- Patience Love suffereth long.
- Kindness And is kind.
- Generosity Love envieth not.
- Humility Love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.
- Courtesy Doth not behave itself unseemly.
- Unselfishness Seeketh not its own.
- Good temper Is not provoked.
- Guilelessness Taketh no account of evil.
- Sincerity Rejoiceth not in unrighteousness, but rejoiceth with the truth.
Patience, kindness, generosity, humility, courtesy, unselfishness, good temper, guilelessness, sincerity – these make up the supreme gift, the stature of the perfect man.
#1 – Patience
Patience is the normal attitude of love; love passive, love waiting to begin, not in a hurry, calm, ready to do its work when summons comes, but meantime wearing the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit. “Love suffers long…bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things…” Love understands and therefore it waits.
#2 – Kindness
Kindness is love active. Have you ever noticed how much of Christ’s life was spent in merely doing kind things? Review His life with that in mind, and you will find that He spent a great portion of His time simply making people happy. Someone once said, “The greatest thing a man can do for his Heavenly Father is to be kind to some of His other children.” Henry Drummond said in his book The Greatest Thing In The World, “I wonder why it is that we are not all kinder than we are? How much the world needs it! How easily it is done! How instantaneously it acts! How infallibly it is remembered! How superabundantly it pays itself back – for there is no debtor in the world so honorable, so superbly honorable, as love.”
1 John 4:16 (NLT)
We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.
Where love is, God is. As children of God, we must love. Love without distinction, without calculation, without procrastination, simply love. Henry Drummond said, “There is a difference between trying to please and giving pleasure.”
“I shall pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”
#3 – Generosity
Generosity: “Love envieth not…” This is love in competition with others. When you attempt a good work, you will find others doing the same kind of work, and probably doing it better. Envy them not the bible says. Envy is a feeling of ill-will to those who are in the same line as ourselves. Henry Drummond said, “Envy, that most despicable of all the unworthy moods which cloud a Christian’s soul, assuredly waits for us on the threshold of every work, unless we are fortified with this grace of magnanimity. Only one thing truly need the Christian envy – the large, rich, generous soul which “envieth not.”
#4 – Humility
After you have done all these things that we have discussed (patience, kindness, generosity), then you must forget that you did them – this is called humility. After you have put love in motion, go back into the shade and say nothing about it. Love hides even from itself. “Love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up…” Humility is love in hiding.
#5 – Courtesy
Courtesy is love in society, love in relation to etiquette. “Love does not display itself unseemly…” Politeness has been defined as love in trifles. Courtesy is said to be love in little things. The one secret of politeness is love. Love cannot display itself unseemly. You can put the most untutored persons into the highest society, and if they have a reservoir of love in their hearts they will not behave themselves unseemly.
#6 – Unselfishness
“Love seeketh not her own…” To be unselfish doesn’t mean that you give up your rights; it goes much deeper than that. Love would have us not seek our own rights at all, to eliminate the personal element all together. It’s not hard to give up our rights. They are often external. The difficult thing is to give up ourselves. For everyone not to look on their own things – but in the things of others – that is the difficulty. Christ’s teaching is that there is no happiness in having or in getting, but only in giving.
Acts 20:35 (KJV)
…It is more blessed to give than to receive.
#7 – Good temper
The next ingredient is a very remarkable one: “love is not provoked…” We usually view at a bad temper as a harmless weakness. We usually do not take it into a serious account when estimating someone’s character. And yet, right in the heart of the analysis of love, it finds a place; and the Bible again and again returns to condemn it as one of the most destructive elements in human nature. A person’s temper is significant, not in what it is alone, but in what it reveals. We all know the story of the prodigal son. That story speaks about two sons, not just the prodigal. The other brother had a bad temper/attitude about his brother coming back into the family and receiving a fresh start. That very disposition is what continues to keep the world outside the doors of the Church. Henry Drummond said, “It is a test for love, a symptom, a revelation of an unloving nature at bottom. It is the intermittent fever which bespeaks unintermittent disease within; the occasional bubble escaping to the surface which betrays some rottenness underneath; a sample of the most hidden products of the soul dropped involuntarily when off one’s guard; in a word, the lightening form of a hundred hideous and unchristian sins. A want of patience, a want of kindness, a want of generosity, a want of courtesy, a want of unselfishness, are all instantaneously symbolized in one flash of temper.
Matthew 18:6 (KJV)
But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
It is the deliberate verdict of Jesus Christ that it is better not to live than not to love.
#8 – Guilelessness
Guilelessness and Sincerity may be dismissed almost without a word. Guilelessness is the grace for suspicious people. The possession of it is the greatest secret for personal influence. You will find if you think for a moment, that the people who influence you are people who believe in you. In an atmosphere of suspicion people shrivel up, but in a trusting atmosphere they expand. “Love thinketh no ill…” If you ever try to influence someone, you will find that your success in doing so is in proportion to their belief of your belief in them. Henry Drummond said, “To respect a man is the first restoration of the self-respect he has lost; our ideal of what he is becomes to him the hope and pattern of what he may become.”
#9 – Sincerity
“Love rejoiceth not in unrighteousness, but rejoiceth in the truth.” We are to rejoice not only in the truth, but also with the truth. True sincerity takes no pleasure in the faults of others. It is dedicated to finding the best attributes of others and focuses whole-heartedly on those.
Now that we know what love is and have analyzed it, we must now fit these things into our character. Is life not full of opportunities for learning love? Every person, on any given day, has hundreds of opportunities to do so. The world is not a playground; it is a schoolroom. Life is not a holiday it’s an education. And the one eternal lesson for us all is how can we love better?