Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;1 Corinthians 13:5(KJV)
Had the believers at Corinth been walking worthy of their calling, there would have been no need for Paul to write this stinging, corrective teaching in the thirteenth chapter of first Corinthians, but all aspects of love were missing from their lives, and their ungodly behavior required Paul's stern admonition: "Love as Christ loved us." The wealth of spiritual gifts given to this body of believers, sharply contrasted an absence of spiritual fruit, for godly love was missing both from their church community and from the lives of individual believers.
When this beautiful chapter on love is divorced from its correct context, it becomes a sentimental sermon rather than a corrective commentary. But Paul was criticising the unseemly behaviour of these carnal Christian, which was displayed in their worship services, and the selfish greed and carelessness of the Corinthians church was even present at the Lord's Table (their 'love' feasts). Their unloving attitude towards each other was manifest in many areas of life and so they were charged by Paul to act appropriately: "But love does not behave itself improperly, for love seeketh not its own and is not selfish and self-centered."
Provocation within the body of believers had reached extraordinary levels as they readily argued amongst themselves, and even sought unbelievers to referee their quarrels and disputes. And so Paul even warned them about the possibility of God's disciplinary consequences towards them. And he reminded them that "love seeketh not her own and does not demand its own way," but rather in lowliness of mind they should esteem others as better than themselves.
Sadly, the thoughts of the minds of these carnal Christians were continuously evil, for they had reverted to living the way of the world where they were dominated by the old sin nature rather than walking in spirit, truth, and love, being subject to their new life in Christ and yielded to the indwelling Spirit of God.
Let us, in the power of the Holy Spirit, walk worthy of our calling and love others as Christ loved us. Let us behave in a seemly manner that glorifies the Lord and selflessly esteem others as better than ourselves. Let us seek to grow in grace and produce the spiritual fruit of righteousness and love. And let us take every thought captive, being washed in the Word of godly love.
Heavenly Father, teach me, I pray, to walk in love, and keep me from any unbecoming actions or ungodly motives. Identify in me any areas of my life that discredit my witness for You, and I pray that I may walk in the way of righteousness. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.
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