"Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love." (v.1)
The love which flows in our hearts when we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit is not a general love but a specific one -- the love of Christ. This love dulls the edge of disappointment and enables us to be invulnerable to many things, not least a lack of appreciation. The poet was thinking of this high degree of love when he wrote: Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove.
O, no! It is an ever fixed mark,That looks on tempests and is never shaken.
Let's follow this thought through a little more deeply. The nine ingredients of the fruit of the Spirit were all exemplified in Jesus' life on earth, and it is the present purpose of the Holy Spirit to engraft them into us as we abide in Christ and maintain a close, day-by-day relationship with Him. When we do this, the very first evidence will be that of agape love. This is not a give-and-take kind of love, a love that is reciprocal; it is a love that descends from above and is showered on the deserving and the undeserving, the agreeable and the disagreeable. Christians who dwell deeply in God find that they are changed from people who just love occasionally, when it is convenient, to people whose controlling purpose is love. Love becomes the organizing motive and power in their lives. Such love "never fails," for it always finds a way of expressing itself -- and when it expresses itself, it is itself the success.
O Father, I see that in expressing love, I become more loving even if the other person doesn't accept my love. I cannot fail in love even if love seems to fail in accomplishing the desired end. I am so thankful. Amen.