We humans love checklists.
As we mark off each item while we’re shopping or building or detailing a car or, for some, searching for a mate, we gain a greater sense of progress toward an important goal.
As I read today’s segment in the One-Year Bible, I felt compelled to take a different approach to the Morning Devotion preparation.
In reading I Corinthians 13, I saw the perfection of Christ in vv. 4-8. He demonstrated all of these in a perfect manner. The more that I thought about the details of His life, the more I realized that we Christians — including me — have work to do in how we conduct ourselves.
So here is what I pray will be a helpful tool for you this morning. I have provided a brief instructive statement and blank line(s) for each of the 15 measures of love listed by the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 13. Please try to complete the list below as fully as possible and then print it out to serve as a guide and an accountability reminder in the days ahead.
I’m confident that your resulting faith in the weeks and months ahead with be stronger and more Christlike. I certainly anticipate that mine will be.
As always, I love you
Love is patient — “Lord, I haven’t been as patient as I should have been with this specific situation (detail it here) _________________. Please forgive me and strengthen me to wait on your help, not give up on it.”
Love is kind — “Lord, I wasn’t as kind recently to __________________ as I should have been. Please guide me as I go to him/her and apologize.”
Love does not envy — “Lord, I’ve spent too much time lately thinking about how ________________ has something that I really wish that I could have, too. Please help me to think about what I have that can be shared with others, rather than what I wish I could have instead of others.”
Love does not boast — “Lord, I’ve messed up in the past by basing my self-esteem too much on my ______________ instead of on my surrendered relationship with your Son. Please convict my heart so that I’ll correct my path if I’m still displaying any sense of boasting in myself.”
Love is not proud — “Lord, I listen to Your Spirit and Word on almost everything for my life, but You know that I struggle with submitting to You with this part of my life _________________. Please help me to see Satan smiling whenever I am tempted to say, ‘Nobody is going to tell me what to do.'”
Love does not dishonor others — “Lord, I know that I’ve disagreed with others on certain issues lately. But I might have dishonored _______________ lately during that difficult conversation. If so, Lord, stir me to go make it right in Your sight, O Lord.”
Love is not self-seeking — “This is one is simple, Lord. In a family or workplace or friendship decision, I’ve thought of myself first and not ______________. Please show me, Lord, how best to repair the damage to my testimony and relationship with that person.”
Love is not easily angered — “Some people get mad a whole lot faster than do I. Yet, ______________ might have the belief that I was mad about ________________ and that is weakening my Christian influence with him/her. Help me to resist getting upset since it rarely helps and show me if I did or said anything for which I should apologize.”
Love keeps no record of wrongs — “Everybody has scars caused by others, Lord. Help me, Lord, to stop disobeying Your command to forgive which is what I am doing when I harbor hard feelings toward ____________. Help me to remember that if Jesus kept a record of His scars caused by my wrongs, I would NEVER have hope for eternal life.”
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth — “Lord, I know that I’ve gossiped in the past, either directly or by condoning it. That was sinful. Thank you for guiding me to do this less often and strengthen me to tell _______________ that I won’t take part in anymore gossip, even if it prompts _____________ to gossip about me.”
Love always protects — “Lord, give me strength to show _______________ that I will stand up for him/her, even if it costs me time or money or social status or any combination of the above.”
Love always trusts — “Lord, __________________ is hurting now because of the broken trust of another. Please guide me in showing myself trustworthy so that I might be able to share Your perfect love with him/her.”
Love always hopes — “Lord, ________________ seems to need more spiritual hope in his/her life. Please show me how to demonstrate that hope and how to communicate that hope.”
Love always perseveres — “Lord, my emotional ‘Love Bank’ toward ______________ is running on fumes right now and I’m afraid of what will happen when I run out of gas. Help me to remember that my sins against Jesus were worse than anything that others could do to me and that my love MUST persevere if I am to be Christlike.”
Love never fails — “OK, so _______________ failed me in a certain way. Help me to remember, Lord, that I have failed others many times. My task is to imitate the love of Christ, something that NEVER failed, despite the never-ending failures of people like me.”
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