by Frans Bakker
Charity ... doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own. —1 Corinthians 13:5
1 Corinthians 13:1–7
Love seeks not its own, but is focused on others. We can be so easily focused on ourselves while we pretend to act in love. We need to be uncovered to our own selfishness. Our sin is that we seek ourselves instead of others and God. Our text says that true love does not seek its own way.
In fairness, there are believers who by grace take to heart the words of the apostle Paul. That is something we must clearly state, for otherwise we would not honor God’s own work. These people would not say that they have much of this love; on the contrary, they see that they lack so much of this unselfish love. They desire to have this love reflected in their lives. These people learn to die to their lovelessness, and begin to desire God’s will more than their own. They cannot seek themselves or that which is their own if God is not in it. Those around them notice that their focus is upon the well-being of others. Their lives are given new direction, though it is a battle against themselves. Even in acts of righteousness there remains a battle with self. But it is a battle that love will one day win. Do you belong to these people who know this battle? Explain your struggle to an all-knowing God. Ask of Him grace to walk in true love.
Not a drop of true love can be found in our hearts without first having love flow forth from Christ. Charity seeketh not her own. Love does not seek itself. This was fulfilled in Christ’s way of suffering. His suffering was a deep manifestation of His love for God and for sinners. That is why He is the only Teacher who can instruct us in the school of love. There we will learn from His work what great love was required to redeem a people who were without true love. This knowledge will cause people to see that they are without this love. It will lead them to yearn for it. And in all this yearning, they will learn to see that all goodness is found in Christ Jesus. The closer we live to His sufferings, the closer we are to His love. Therefore we need to become a sinner before God daily in order to receive this love and to be conformed to His image. All this will continue until finally love will be made perfect, and it will never again seek its own.
From The Everlasting Word by Frans Bakker, compiled and translated by Gerald R. Procee. Reformation Heritage Books and Free Reformed Publications, 2007. Used by permission. For further information, click here.