Taking Self out of Love

By Cheryl Hansen

And now I will show you the most excellent way.  1 Corinthians 13:1

That statement Paul writes seems to point to my own interests. Being a striver, a constant seeker of self-development, I am always on the path for the better and more improved. Excellence is one of my top values. But the kind of love referred to here is not part of the performance-based values system of this world. Instead, it’s quite the opposite.

Loving well is part of the excellent way! Love never fails. So, the question I ask is, “why wouldn’t I want more of that kind of love?”

Clearly, Paul points out the aspects of what love is . . .

  • patient
  • kind
  • protecting
  • trusting
  • hopeful
  • persevering

Also pointed out is what love is NOT. . .

  • not envious
  • not boastful
  • not proud
  • not rude
  • not self-seeking
  • not easily angered
  • not holding grudges

As a Christ follower, I am being challenged in the area of self-sufficiency and selfish ambition on quite a regular basis. Flipping the coin on all the “self” stuff, humility appears. Humility is a constant theme in my quiet times, sermons, podcasts, study and even reading lately. In stark contrast to self-seeking is true Christ-like humility—having the mind of Christ, the truth that is real, a certain and glorious hope. 

The enemy uses all kinds of tactics in my thought life that show up as discontentment, chaos, noise, confusion, self-importance, complacency, cynicism and even victimhood. And the root of all of that is SELF.

Getting to the point of being sick and tired of my toxic thoughts, I began again to really seek Christ’s definition of a love that is not self-seeking, to seeing myself accurately, the receiver of His grace and mercy instead of the inflated view of myself that can continually lead to more status, more stuff and more . . . everything.

Covid has taught me that less is truly more, and that true joy comes when I can humbly lay aside my desires and choose to be with Jesus. He really doesn’t care that I hadn’t seen my hair stylist in 3 months or that my nails were back to their natural state for the first time in about 25 years, (no joke). 

Weekly, I met virtually on Sunday mornings with a group of single moms as we discussed and studied through the Bible study of “Get Out of Your Head.” We learned how to grab our out-of-control thoughts and catch the spirals, replacing them with the truth. I can honestly say I am coming out of this season changed, changed in a way I didn’t expect.

I, personally, have grown in a love that is not self-seeking. I’ve become more confident that He really knows ALL, has an amazing plan, and that my self-effort and achieving don’t represent the kind of love He intends.

In all of that, the greatest of these is love. . . .

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