The Love of God Is Not Self-Seeking

The Love of God Is Not Self-Seeking

     On a Monday evening, after partaking of the last supper with his disciples, Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son, walked with them to a garden where they would spend their last minutes together. It was the beginning of the thirteenth of Nisan in 28 A.D. Jesus’ betrayal was at hand, and in the face of immense pressure, he came to pray to his Father.
Matthew 26:36-38:
Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.
And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.
Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
     Jesus had an agonizing responsibility set before him—taking the judgment for man’s sins upon himself. He recognized the excruciating suffering that he would soon endure, and he went to his heavenly Father to see if there was any other way for God’s plan of redemption to be carried out.
Matthew 26:39,42,44:
And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.
And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.
     Three times he went to God in prayer, but God made it clear to him that there was no other way to redeem mankind. So Jesus Christ did what he always did—he humbly submitted his will to God’s will. He continued manifesting God’s love in his service toward God and others. Rather than seeking his own advantage or comfort, he sought God’s will so that others could be saved. As followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we can imitate his powerful example of manifesting the love of God. We will not face the pressures he faced in Gethsemane. But in whatever pressures we may face in our service as God’s children, we can manifest the love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation, which I Corinthians 13:5 says “…seeketh not her own….”
     In order to learn more about this characteristic of the love of God as recorded in I Corinthians 13, let’s first look at the meaning of the phrase “seeketh not her own.” The Greek word for “seeketh” is zēteō, which here means to aim at, strive after, strive for. The Greek word for “not” is ou, meaning absolutely not.
     The words “her own” are translated from the Greek reflexive pronoun heautou. Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible shows that heautou is translated as a number of different reflexive pronouns in English, including thyself, himself, herself, itself, ourselves, yourselves, and themselves. In I Corinthians 13:5, heautou is in the feminine form heautēs because it refers back to the noun agapē, which is feminine. Heautēs could literally be translated “of herself.”
     Furthermore, in the Greek there is a direct object of the verb “seeketh.” This direct object is sometimes translated as “things.” Therefore, “seeketh not her own” translated word for word from the Greek would read “absolutely does not seek the things of herself.” Specifically in this context, the phrase “seeketh not her own” can be understood as “absolutely does not strive for its own advantage.” The Amplified Bible renders it, “does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking.”
     When we put on the mind of Christ and manifest the love of God, which was poured out in our hearts by way of the gift of holy spirit, we absolutely do not strive for our own advantage or insist on our own way. Our focus is not on ourselves but is directed toward God and toward others. Our heavenly Father has supplied all our need according to His riches in glory (Philippians 4:19). As His beloved children, we are taken care of completely. We do not need to seek our own, for we are secure in His love.
     We can find zēteō used with the reflexive pronoun in three other places in the Church Epistles: two in I Corinthians 10 and one in Philippians 2. We’ll review them all to learn more about how to walk in love, seeking not our own. First, we’ll look at the two in I Corinthians 10. The context of this section of scripture is Paul teaching the believers how to seek the spiritual welfare of others rather than insisting on their own way with regard to things that are lawful. Believers are to edify, or build up, one another.
I Corinthians 10:23,24,33:
All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient [profitable]: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.
Let no man seek [zēteō] his own, but every man another’s wealth.
Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking [zēteō] mine own profit [or advantage], but the profit of many, that they may be saved.
     Paul offers an alternative to striving for one’s own advantage. He says, “…not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many….” What is the reason for this selfless way of living as a son of God? The purpose is “that they may be saved.” Paul sought to do what was expedient, or profitable—things that would edify—so that others might be saved. And in the verse following, Paul says, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (I Corinthians 11:1)….

This is an excerpt from the November/December 2016 issue of The Way Magazine.
Copyright© 2016 by The Way International. All rights reserved.
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