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Charity [agape love]...is kind; charity envieth not....
(1 Cor. 13:4)
Paul tells us that love is "kind." The word "kind" is the Greek word chresteuomai, which means to be adaptable or compliant to the needs of others. When agape is working in your life, you don't demand that others be like you.

Instead, agape makes you want to bend over backwards to become what others need you to be for them! Thus, the word "kind" portrays a willingness to serve and to change in order to meet the needs of others. This is completely opposite of selfishness and self-centeredness.

So when Paul writes that love is "kind," an expanded interpretation of this phrase would mean:
"...Love doesn't demand others to be like itself; rather, it is so focused on the needs of others that it bends over backwards to become what others need it to be...."
If this is what Paul means when he says that love is kind, we must look into the mirror and ask ourselves: Do I become what others need me to be, or do I demand that others be like me?

Real agape love doesn't think of itself first. Instead, it is always reaching out, thinking and focusing primarily on the needs of others. The person walking in agape love adapts to those around him in order to touch them, help them, and impact them in a meaningful way.

Paul also tells us that "...charity [agape love] envieth not...." The word "envy" is the Greek word zelos, which portrays a person who is radically consumed with his own desires and plans.

This is a person so bent on getting his own way that he is willing to sacrifice anything or anyone to get it. You might describe this person as being ambitious and self-centered.

He is so consumed with himself that he doesn't ever think of the needs or desires of others. His own plans are paramount in his mind, and everyone else comes after him.

Therefore, when Paul says, "charity envieth not," his words could actually be rendered:
"...Love is not ambitious, self-centered, or so consumed with itself that it never thinks of the needs or desires that others possess...."
I long so much to see this terrible flaw uprooted from all our lives! You see, real agape love doesn't think of itself first but is always looking outward, thinking of the other person rather than itself.

So examine your relationships at home, at church, and at work, and ask yourself: Am I committed to seeing others blessed and successful, or am I more committed to my own cause than anyone else's? If you're walking in agape love, your greatest concern is that others succeed!

This is what it means when the Bible says love is patient; love is kind; and love is not envious.

Now you must look into God's "mirror" and see what it tells you about your own life today. Do you demonstrate these characteristics of divine love in your life? Are you passionately patient with others?

Do you bend over backwards to be what other people need you to be? Are you more focused on people around you than on yourself?

If your answer is yes to these questions, then praise God for the great growth and spiritual maturity you have gained in your life.

But if you see that your life is not reflecting these attributes of God's love, you still have something to rejoice about—you can be thankful that God has revealed this deficiency to you.

Now you can ask Him to help change you and make you more like Jesus!

Source: Sparkling Gems From The Greek by Rick Renner
Excerpt permission granted by Rick Renner Ministries

Author Biography

Rick Renner
Web site: Rick Renner Ministries
 
Rick and Denise met while they were each on an individual quest to wholeheartedly follow God’s plan for their lives. Rick was a college student, growing in his teaching ministry. Denise was a talented vocalist. She chose not to pursue a course that held the prospect of performing with the Metropolitan Opera so that she could instead pursue a relationship with Rick and fulfill her heart’s desire to enter full-time ministry.
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