It’s the season of love, so let’s take an early Valentine’s Day quiz. But it’s not like those silly social media quizzes. Even though the stores are stocked with flowers, candy, hearts, greeting cards, Cupid and more, this quiz will dig a little deeper.
Question number one: Read this passage slowly. Does it sound accurate?
Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Question number two: Read the passage slowly once again. But this time replace the words “love” and “it” with “Jesus.”
Jesus is patient, Jesus is kind. Jesus is not jealous, Jesus is not pompous, Jesus is not inflated, Jesus is not rude, Jesus does not seek His own interests, Jesus is not quick-tempered, Jesus does not brood over injury, Jesus does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Jesus bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Jesus never fails.
Did everything sound right with this version? It matches up perfectly, don’t you think?
Question number three: Now the quiz gets more challenging. Read the passage slowly a third time but replace the words “love” and “it” with your name or the pronoun “I.”
I am patient, I am kind. I am not jealous, I am not pompous, I am not inflated, I am not rude, I do not seek my own interests, I am not quick-tempered, I do not brood over injury, I do not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoice with the truth. I bear all things, I believe all things, hope all things, endure all things. I never fail.
How did things match up this time? It’s time to score the quiz. Get out your red pen on your phone, tablet or computer and circle or highlight wherever things do not sound accurate. Focus on and pray about those phrases where you do not think you measure up very well. Ask the Lord for help in figuring out why you might not be doing well in certain areas. Going to confession helps too. Then take the quiz over and over again.
Remember that the “L” word should not be used lightly. How many times do we say that we love our favorite sports team, we love our favorite food or restaurant, we love our favorite actor or author, we love our favorite movie or TV show, or we love our favorite item of clothing?
There are lots of secular loves out there. And there is nothing wrong with appreciating and being thankful for these earthly things as long as we do not put them ahead of God and ahead of others. But are these things we should actually love?