Without love, I am an irritating sound. I grate on people’s nerves; they want to run away. I can have all the benefits God gives us as Christians; spiritual gifts and supernatural powers, but when I don’t do it from a place of love, it is empty and meaningless. I can write a big check for the offering plate, but if it’s not given in love, it’s valueless. First Corinthians 13 explains that and more. God is love, and love never fails. Everything else in creation can be destroyed, but love will remain. What if I have no love for God or for others? What if I get tired of whiny, needy people? What is left then? Nothing that builds the Kingdom of God. Perhaps hurt feelings, confusion and consternation, but nothing eternal.
We know these verses in First Corinthians. We often hear them recited at weddings. The words have a much deeper purpose, so let’s look closer. The Bible tells us to rightly divide the word of truth. It’s like looking into a mirror, seeing what’s wrong, and fixing it immediately. So, we look into it. Love is patient, love is kind, love doesn’t envy, it doesn’t parade itself, is not puffed up. Love is not rude, selfish or self-centered. Love is not easily provoked, love thinks no evil, it doesn’t rejoice in inequity. I can conclude that love sets self aside for the benefit of another. That’s what Jesus did. He set his own desires to remain in Heaven aside, so that He might come to earth, know us, be crucified, and pay our ransom to sin. He taught us ultimate love by fulfilling the law and bringing grace. This love of His rejoices in truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. Oh, I see the answer to my question in there. If I get tired of whiny, needy people, I need to check my love levels. Love esteems others better than oneself. Jesus urged us to love one another. Love like He loves. In the spirit as I write this, I see a huge hay wagon full of love, and people are gleefully hopping on board. Let’s get on board the love wagon!
I Cor. 14:1 boils it down to this, “Pursue love”. Pursue Christ. Pursue behavioral change that lines up with the explanation of love in these verses. I want to get in agreement with God in these commands. I want understanding and release down in my spirit until love is the defining characteristic of me.
I Cor 12:31 But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way. 1 Cor 13: the way is love. Chapter 14 says pursue love and desire spiritual gifts. Administer prophecy, healing, hospitality, mercy, exhortation, and do it with love. Not for show, but to give God the glory. Only Jesus can purify our hearts enough to love others like He loves. What an amazing thought! To run full bore after Jesus, His Word and love, you become effective in the kingdom. And that’s really where it is. The most excellent way.