JohnSWilson3 Blog


“Pursue love…”

As the brothers and sisters were sharing today in our organic church life together a brother shared his thoughts about 1 Corinthians 13. How no matter what gift I have if I do not have love then what I have said or done “profits me nothing” – it is worthless.

Christianity was not mean to be an individual Christianity where I try and do the best that I can on my own, just me and God. Christianity is so much more, in fact individual Christianity is not even a thought in the mind of God. What Paul describes as individual Christianity is generally in a negative light, because it is almost always focused on self and the desires of the flesh.

A sister read the passage and a word struck me. She read:

“Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. When I was a child, I used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I shall know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. Pursue love…” (1 Corinthians 13:4-14:1a)

The words that struck me were – “is not provoked.” How many times I have felt provoked, especially by defiant and disobedient students. While they are only adolescents the provocation can get to you after a while. Thankfully we have measures to deal with insolence, such as behavior interventions, referrals and the like. I have made an attempt at the beginning of the school year to use a social contract so students know how to behave when working together as well as seating arrangements to help mitigate the issues that arise from students working together in groups. Does this help all the time? No it doesn’t. Human nature, the flesh is at work. They are also not mature adults, although that too does not make a difference. Many adults act immaturely. Many do not know basic manners normally taught at home. The power of this world, Satan and his minions, are at work constantly prowling around looking for whom they can steal, kill, and destroy. No wonder Paul describes “the governing authorities” being “established by God” “for rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil” and “is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil.”

I guess the whole reason for this discussion is that while we can do everything we can to try and have peace on this earth, such as in the classroom, it does not and will not last. Peace is a Person, Jesus Christ. Because He lives in me then His peace in my heart is what I am after. When I heard and read “is not provoked” the thought that comes to mind is that because the fruit of the Spirit is love, then when something attempts to provoke me, such as a defiant student, Jesus is not provoked. I guess the sense is that if I feel provoked and the blood begins to rise in me, you know what I mean, then I think that means love has been lost and I am, in mind, thinking in the flesh. Let me explain. It seems this week God gave me a couple of examples. On one day in a number of classes there were some students who attempted to provoke me. I saw this coming and immediately, instead of getting defensive, removed them from the classroom for a duration. I felt no provocation. On another day, another student really got me irritated and I got loud! I realize now that “love is not provoked.” If I am living in the Spirit, letting Him be in control, then in my mind, because of being controlled by the Spirit, I will not “feel” provoked and become defensive. But if I am thinking of how to control the situation in my flesh that’s when I will feel provoked and the blood pressure increases and the flesh comes out. James 1:12-16 comes to mind.

My focus should be on loving the students with Christ’s love, allowing His love to take control of my actions. At the same time, because of being a teacher I also must ensure that poor behavior is dealt with and swiftly. I should never become defensive and take what is done by a student, whether they are being defiant or disobedient, as being against me, but against Christ and His authority. Therefore Jesus is the One who will deal with that person in His own way. Part of His authority is that of “governing authorities” and therefore I or we should never be defensive in those difficult circumstances but follow the procedures we have in the classroom to deal with poor behavior. My responsibility is to live by His Spirit and to “bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse…Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the warth of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. ‘But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Trying to find out the reason for the defiance or disobedience is perhaps the best thing to do, showing compassion in the process. “Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.”

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2 Comments so far
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John, what struck me most was Jn 3:16. For God so loved the world… I was reminded that God continues to love and provide for the world regardless of the response He gets. This provoked me to determine to remain consistent in acts of love regardless.

Thanks for sharing!

Comment by Ugonma

amen!

Comment by John Wilson




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