Love is powerful. And God’s love is really, really powerful. In fact, we can truthfully say it’s the most powerful force in the universe!
The Corinthians were extremely gifted people. God had given the members of this church an amazing array of talents. But Paul tells the Corinthians, love is so core that when it’s missing, it completely guts the character of things that most of us would consider awesome and amazing.
Paul gives us concrete examples. You might be an amazing public speaker, or a skillful coach that can motivate others, but if you don’t have love, your gift is worthless. You might be able to powerfully share the gospel with others, and teach God’s word in a way that makes it very clear to others, and your faith might be able to move mountains — without love, it really doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. You might be the most caring and giving person on planet earth, but if you don’t love, it just doesn’t matter — at least, not to God.
Life without love is like an explorer without a compass, like a Ferrari without an engine, like a sky without sun, moon or stars. But with love — the way God defines and describes it — life is filled with beauty, meaning, power and purpose. With love life is filled with… well… love! And who doesn’t want that?!
Love-God’s-way is the most excellent way!
“And yet I will show you the most excellent way.
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 12:31 – 13:13, NIV).
Lord Jesus, help me to receive into my cold, dark, sinful heart all the love you have for me. Shine your warmth, your light, your love for sinners into my soul. And teach me to display to others the same love that I have received from you. You laid down your life for me. I want to lay down my life for others.
Our Bible reading for Wednesday, August 19, is Song of Songs 5:1 – 8:14, 1 Corinthians 12:27 – 13:13 and Psalm 100:1-5.
Header image based on "Love is a Fruit" by Leland Francisco, CC By 2.0