Love may seem a subject too ethereal and too emotional for the application of weights and measures. Such standards are far too mundane to be applied to the subject of love. Right? Well, maybe not. Elizabeth Barrett Browning didn’t think so. Remembers her words “How do I love thee?” Let me count the ways.” Whatever else might be said of her poetry, she was indeed applying some measurable standards to the subject of love.
The writers of the New Testament also applied some lofty, but measurable standards to this subject. In 1 Corinthians 13, we are given 15 very specific characteristics of love. Each can be observed and evaluated. Look at the list. Love will suffer long, be kind, rejoice in truth, bear all things, believe, hope, and endure all things. Love will not envy, it will not brag, is not arrogant nor ill mannered, it is not selfish (self-seeking), it is not provoked, keeps no record of suffered wrong, doesn’t rejoice in doing or hearing about iniquity.
Words are easily feigned. “I love you” isn’t too hard for most of us to say. We need to say it to our Lord and to each other. We need to mean it. And we need to remember that those words can be objectively measured by 1 Corinthians 13.
God knows whether or not we are being obedient to His exhortation to “love one another.” And these are standards of measure whereby we can know.
Beloved, let us love one another!