The passage in the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians is often thought of as a definition of love, when actually it is a description of the Person Who is love. In order to illustrate this glorious reality, each time the word “charity” (or “love”) appears in verses 4-8, supply the name of Christ:
Christ suffereth long, and is kind; Christ envieth not;
Christ vaunteth not Himself, is not puffed up,
[Christ] doth not behave Himself unseemly, seeketh not His own,
is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
[Christ] rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
[Christ] beareth all things, believeth all things,
hopeth all things, endureth all things. Christ never faileth.
These verses are not detailing a “what” called, love, but a “Who” – the Lord Jesus Christ, the One Who is love. In fact, the beginning of the chapter is recounting the need, not for love, but for Christ.
Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels,
and have not Christ,
I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
And though I have the gift of prophecy,
and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge;
and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountians,
and have not Christ, I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor,
and though I give my body to be burned,
and have not Christ, it profiteth me nothing.
Love is not a “what,” love is a “Who.” Therefore, it is not love we are to be “bettering,” but Christ we need to be beholding, for the Word of God sets forth that as we behold [love] Him, we are transformed (changed) into His image (see 2 Corinthians 3:18).
With whatever or whomever we are occupied, we become like that thing or that one. We become like that which we behold. For example, after many years of intimate marriage, loving couples begin to resemble each other. In a similar yet more profound way, as we are consumed with Christ, we become like Him-- His characteristics become our character qualities. Beholding [loving] produces the transforming. Our true occupation should be preoccupation with the Savior—loving the Lord.