Love always Trusts!
When God tells us that love is trusting, He means we are not to have an expectation or a demand that others must meet our needs and provide what we want before we will give our love. We will not lose faith in God and thus not in His children, so we can believe all things and in others because we first believe in Christ. Our hopes are not hinged on what others have done or can do; they are solely placed on Christ as we are in a cruciform in Him, formed in the shape of our Lord, by His sacrifice, so the love that we give is made possible because of our trust in Him and what He has done; therefore, we can give in return to others. A love that trusts is a willing sacrifice; there is no need to manipulate another to fulfill our needs. A love that trusts is willing to conform to Christ, confident that His Way is better than my way, better than the harboring of my fears, resentments, past or future hurts. A love that trusts does not force others nor demand some kind of repayment from another to meet our wants because we have everything from Christ to fulfill us. Because God loves me, He keeps on trusting me when at times I don't deserve it or even trust myself. So; do we trust Him to love us and grant us the ability to give and receive love?
Authentic Love never stops trusting and is empowered by faith!
Contexts and Background:
This passage is not just a description of God's characteristics, how He deals with us and what He calls us to do and be. It was also originally a retort to this church in Corinth that was doing the direct opposite, which should be a wakeup call for us; do my actions show the opposite of love? Paul's point was that real love must be contagious, so when people are near us they are infected in a good way with God's love, seen even in our worst days just as Christ did for us. This is not theory or metaphysics; it is not something we just talk about, but something we do as a lifestyle, because Christ is real and living in us. Christ is not only our potential, He is our operating parameter. Our love is measured by who and what Christ is, not by what has been done to us or what we feel is missing in our lives; love must build others up, not tear them down. It must replace our desires with His (Rom. 12:10; 1 Cor. 4:6;-19; 5:2; 14:29-32).
Commentary-Word and Phrase Meanings:
· Love. Real love is removing the focus from our concerns, anxieties, fears, hurts, stress, and worries and instead facing God with our confidence and reliance so we can then face others and believe in them. It will enable us to appreciate others in the Lord, believing in them until the proof says otherwise. Love desires to seek and apply what God has to say. This aspect of love trusts and therefore is able and even shows up best when others don't deserve it or are not willing to see or receive it. There can be no real love without sacrifice, the stepping out of our will, perceived needs, and agenda and moving beyond our hurts and the potential execution of our fears. Love is to be engaged and a part of another person that we do not demand a contract or a give back from them. The world demands that the other person must meet us and fulfill us with an entitlement that says they deserve me. But God says love is not deserved; love does not require or need to be merited. If it did, it would not be real love. It requires a sense of gratitude over duty and that trusts that love is real without achieving what we want or getting back what we put in because we are infused and indwelt in Christ. He is in me, working in me so all I do is reciprocate His love without expecting reciprocation from others. Christ is all I need to be fulfilled, so I can trust Him and His love to be real even when I do not feel like it (Real love: Mark 12:28-31; John 3:16, Matt. 22:34-40; John 3:16; 13:1, 34-35; 14:1; 15:9; Rom.1:31; 5:10; 12:10; 1 Cor. 13; Eph. 2:4-7; Phil. 2:2; Col. 1:1-6; 3:12-14; 1 Thess. 1:3; 2:8; 3:6; 12; 4:9-10; 5:8; 13; 2 Tim. 3:3; Heb. 10:24; 1 John 4:7-12).
· always / never loses. Love is continual as it holds the redemptive plan of our Lord and uses us to display His grace. So, we can believe in the best of others and have patience and respect to allow for mistakes and setbacks even when something goes wrong. This is where we get "innocent until proven guilty!" This is the faith aspect of love that believes and accepts our Lord's precepts including His model of a sacrificial love. It makes room for others to grow and mature. This does not mean we are to be gullible or foolhardy or take mistreatment or exploitation because this is not detached from God's other precepts of wisdom and discernment. It does not say we are to remain in an abusive situation; rather, believe the best in others until proven otherwise (Prov. 14:15; Rom. 5:5; 1 Pet. 4:8).
· Trusts / believes / believeth all things / never loses faith / never stops believing. This form of love comes from a sincere faith that is focused on Christ so we are trusting, not because the other person deserves it, but because Christ does. Love is not meant to fulfill our own needs; rather, it is a gift of grace by faith. It allows us not to be tied to what others do for or have done for us! We can be supportive, loyal, hopeful, and trusting. We trust in Christ and have the faith and confidence to let His love flow in and through us to others so we can trust them without expecting anything back. Thus, we will not jump to conclusions, be cynical, or be suspicious, on the ready to denounce. Faith that is not powered by Christ, but practiced by our worldly "trust" is useless, false, dead, and even demonic! This passage is about how we are to live when we trust in our Lord (Psalm 37:23; John 13:1; 15: 3,13; Rom. 3:24; 5:1-5; 9:3; 14:23; 1 Cor. 9:22; 16:14; Gal. 2:20; Col. 3:12-17; 1 Thess. 4:9-10; 5:8-18; 1 Tim. 1:5; Heb. 11:6; 1 John 5:12).
· Love is closely tied to faith because our object is Christ. He is what we trust in and hope for; Christ is what is seen when others disappoint and hurt! As faith is the promise of God that gives us the confidence to trust, we can receive it, act on it, obey Him, and trust God's promises because God is trustworthy. This will help us perceive others by their potential, not just by the setbacks and suffering we experience and see. Like how a good parent handles a disobedient child. This helps us be implanted with hope. This right thinking and practice about love should give us the ability to believe in others even though they may not meet our expectations. The key characteristics we can glean from this is being trustworthy, dependable, and honest (Matt. 6:33; John 14:9; Rom. 3:21-26; 12:2; 2 Cor. 5:17-21; Phil. 4:8; Heb. 11:1)!
Devotional Thoughts and Applications:
We cannot have a good relationship with God if not with one another, or vice versa. Every human has a conscience to know what is good or bad, but not all know God! This is why God does not want us to be controlled by the past or to be fearful or cowardly. Rather, we are to learn from our experiences and grow from them, but not be tied to them so they become our identity. We have been born again in Christ; our old life is old, and it is no longer who we are. Thus, we are to grow closer to Him and be an example to others who are still in the old life without allowing them to influence and entice us. Our focus needs to be what is going on now, what God is doing, and how we can contribute to it-not just what can I get, but what can I learn and gain to be better for His glory? Take comfort; God does indeed have a plan for you even when you cannot see it. His will for your growth in Him is clear! He wants you to be faithful and good so others can see in you a demonstration model for the new life that they can have too. He gives you the ability, the power, and the strength to endure and to enjoy (Gal. 6:7)! The most important aspect is for us to keep our eyes focused on Christ, with racehorse blinders on to block off the rest.
The Essential Inductive Questions (for more Inductive questions see Inductive Bible Study):
1. What does this passage say?
2. What does this passage mean?
3. What is God telling me?
4. How am I encouraged and strengthened?
5. Is there sin in my life for which confession and repentance is needed?
6. How can I be changed, so I can learn and grow?
7. What is in the way of these precepts affecting me? What is in the way of my listening to God?
8. How does this apply to me? What will I do about it?
9. What can I model and teach?
10. What does God want me to share with someone?
Read these two passages again in different translations (1 Corinthians 13:1-8; 1 John 4: 7-12)
1. Discuss your thoughts on this aspect of love.
2. Give a positive example.
3. Give a negative example.
4. How is this type of love working in you?
5. Why is this love not working in you?
6. What blocks this love from being exhibited in you?
7. What would it take to get this love working in you?
8. What are you willing to do about it?
1. Why does real love believe the best in others?How is authentic love empowered by faith?
2. How have you expected or even demanded that others first meet your needs and what you want in order for you to love then back? (Keep in mind we all do at some level; it is always a struggle and a journey to develop real continual love and to trust others.)
3. Why is it that if we do not lose faith in God, we can better trust in His children? How would this help you believe and trust other people?
4. Have you ever been a willing sacrifice to trust someone without seeking to manipulate them? How did it go? How do faith and love go together?
5. What are you willing to do to conform to Christ? How would this help you be more confident in His Way? Have you realized that His way is better than ours, better than the harboring of fears, resentments, or past or future hurts?
6. How and why do so many people, Christians included, demand some kind of reciprocation from another to fulfill what they want? Consider dating: how does one balance trust with discernment?
7. What does it mean to you that you have everything for fulfillment from Christ, or at least you should? Do you trust Him for your love and your ability to give and receive love? If not, why not?
8. How have you seen love measured by what is costs and not what we gain from it? Did this hurt you or help you? How is this so in your life? If it is not, do you think you have ever experienced true, real, and impacting love?
9. How do you display the wonder of His love and grace in your daily life? How do you react when someone at school or work hurts you?
10. How do you hope in Christ, worship Him, and allow Him to be your lead? How does this help you trust?
11. What does it take for love to be a lifestyle? How does it help that Christ is real and living in you? What can you do to be a person who is more trusting and trustworthy?
12. Do you need a wakeup call when you do the opposite of love? How is real love contagious? How can you be the person who infects others, in a good way, with God's love? What would happen if you allowed love to spill out…even in your worst days? What does it mean to you that this is what Christ did for you?
© 2010, R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org/