Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it.  The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.  “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—  just as the Father knows me and I know the Father —and I lay down my life for the sheep. St John 10:11-15

First Corinthians 13 is known as ‘The Love Chapter’. While this passage is a popular choice for many wedding ceremonies, these very meaningful words are not restricted to relationships involving only a husband and wife. Paul starts out by showing what happens when love is absent,  then he goes on to define what love is and what love does. He later concludes by showing the prominence and necessity of love.  Having re-read this passage, I now have cause to wonder what would happen if we, as believers, decided to love as Christ did and as Paul wrote.

Jesus exposed us to a whole new world of love. The love that He brings gives us a greater level of protection than we can imagine. He invites us into relationship with Him and essentially assures us that He will face whatever comes at us. He takes our safety and security to heart and will not leave us to fate when disaster threatens. He loves us enough to put His life on the line for us! When we grasp the magnitude of how He loves and protects, we will learn to trust Him to take care of what concerns us.

Jesus is our Saviour and He’s all the saviour we need, but He may have placed us in relationships where we are called upon to take a stand for others. In helping the injured man, the Good Samaritan showed how love can protect.  By showing mercy where punishment is due, we can show how love protects. By offering forgiveness in the midst of pain, we can also show the protective side of love. As parents, spouses, siblings, friends, congregants, neighbours, we can protect the interests of those whose lives we affect.  Are we allowing Him to teach us how to protect as we love?

Inventory/Introspection: How have I demonstrated “Love always protects” in my relationships with those around me?
Personal Application:  I will allow God to teach me how to ‘lovingly protect’ those He has placed in my life and in my heart.

Father, we are thankful for the sacrifice of Love.  The good Shepherd laid His life down to offer us protection from eternity in hell. We are truly grateful.

Help us to remember that love always protects, and that we should demonstrate this in the way we relate to others. There are many who have not experienced the deep, satisfying and fulfilling love that comes from You. May they see Love in the way we live, and may they experience that pure protective love that comes from You.

Challenges will come, and as we struggle with making the right decisions, we ask that You would give us guidance. Help us too to allow others the opportunity to love and protect us, even as we heal from the painful experiences of being turned away in the moments we needed to be protected. Please examine our hearts, our thoughts and our motives in all of our relationships, as we remain open to Your direction.

As we go through this week, we ask that You would help us to constantly remember that we are protected in Your love.

ann / Toni R

Except where indicated, Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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