7 Characteristics of Christlike Love

As God’s sons and daughters, He wants us to be transformed into the image of His Son. Although we cannot have His infinite wisdom or power, we can develop His humility, His kindness, His joy, and, most of all, His love. What does Jesus’ love look like? Here are several key descriptions that we’ve taken from the classic love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13. 

Read on to learn 7 characteristics of Christlike love.


Love is patient (verse 4).

Instead of becoming annoyed when a friend disagrees with your opinion, love says, “I value your friendship more than this issue. It’s okay to disagree.” Love enables us to be patient with the barista who messes up our order, gracious when people show up 30 minutes late to a meeting, and long-suffering with our imperfect families. Love smoothes over the bumpy places in life’s pathway.

Love is kind (verse 4).

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, kindness is “the quality of being generous, helpful, and caring about other people.” Kindness seeks to pour into the lives of others the same grace and goodness that God has shown to us. A kind person might help someone pick up their spilled groceries, say an encouraging word to a weary mom, or simply give a cup of cold water in Jesus’ name. At the local church’s prison ministry, we seek to show kindness to others.

Love does not envy (verse 4).

We’ve all been tempted to envy others for their success or possessions. But, after we have found true contentment in Jesus Christ, we no longer need to envy others. If they do not know Jesus personally, they will find that nothing truly satisfies. And everything they’ve worked so hard for is hollow and empty. But, if they do know Jesus, then we ought to be happy that He has blessed them. 

Love does not boast or become puffed up (verse 4).

In Proverbs 27:2, God’s Word teaches us, “Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.” Love does not boast about its own abilities or achievements. Instead, love encourages others and praises them sincerely. Remembering its own weakness, it does not become puffed up and prideful. 

Love does not look out for self (verse 5).

Since Eden’s blissful days, man has been haunted by the lie, “I need to look out for myself, or I will be treated unfairly.” Starting with Adam and Eve, we all tend to put ourselves first and give others second place. When Jesus walked on earth, did He look out for His own needs first? Were His days filled with giving speeches and accepting awards? Or were they spent in washing grimy feet and healing outcast lepers? Like Jesus, we ought to focus on serving others, not being served (Mark 10:45). 

Love rejoices in the truth, not in sin (verse 6).

While the world rejoices in doing evil and embraces deceit, we need to be people of truth. Love is honest with others, and it rebukes their faults in a loving, humble way. Just as a father gives medicine to a feverish child, love speaks the truth even when it hurts.

Love never fails (verse 8).

No matter what, Jesus loves us with an unconditional love. Are we capable of loving others like that? Can we pray for them even when they’ve hurt us deeply? Can we wish them well even if they’ve cut our souls to the quick? By God’s grace, we can. Let’s ask God to help us see people as He sees them and love them unconditionally. At the local church’s prison ministry, we want to love people as He does.
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