Love

“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

“4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

“8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. 11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love,” 1 Cor. 13:1-13.

February is often thought of as the month of love since Valentines Day is during the month. As Christians, we celebrate the greatest love of all. Jesus laying down His life for us on the cross and His resurrection. During the month of February, we start to celebrate the season of Lent. The season of lent we celebrate Christ and His love for us. Many will even sacrifice something, so they can focus on the love of Christ by fasting from what they love. What is love then? The above scripture contains what many feel as the greatest definition of what love is. It takes up the whole chapter and though, in a short column I can’t pull out all the awesome things from these verses, I want to point out a few things to think about this week.

Scripture always builds off scripture. In the previous chapters, Paul was dealing with spiritual gifts. Some gifts are more noticeable by men than other gifts and can lead to pride in the person who has it and jealousy in the ones who don’t have it. Paul, in the first three verses, is pointing out that gifts don’t have value if they don’t have love. Pride, selfishness and jealousy do not show love, so when these are present in the ministry of the gifts, they make the gift or ministry useless. Think about how we feel when someone does a good work only for show, not out of genuine love.

Love is one of the hardest things to define. Yet, Paul does a very good job of defining it as what it is and is not. When you look at verses four through seven, which is Paul’s definition of love, it is all actions not feelings. Today, we hear people say all the time that they don’t feel loved. We show love by our actions, not by how we feel. Sometimes feelings come out of our selfishness and not from our hearts. This week, take a few moments to go through this definition of love and ask, does my love for others demonstrate this kind of love?

“Love never fails,” is how verse eight starts out. Paul takes time to say spiritual gifts will someday come to an end as all things do but love does not. Love is what will bring us to eternity with Jesus! We need to all become grownups in the faith to know that love is more important and should be demonstrated by our actions, because that is what truly matters in the end.

The world is a hard, dark and selfish place, but the church and its people should be different and truly be all about true love of Jesus! Jesus set the example and His love still endures and so too can yours. Are you focused on your actions or are your actions coming out of your love for others?

When it comes to all of Christianity, the most important things are faith, hope and love, and the greatest of them is love. Loving God with our everything is the greatest commandment, followed closely by loving others as ourselves. The ten commandments are all about loving God and loving others. Jesus gave us the greatest example of love. Are we following it? Set a goal this week and keep it up all year, to love God more today than you did yesterday, and it will cause you to love others more than yesterday too.

Scripture is from The New American Standard Bible, copyright 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA

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