1 Corinthians 13 (NIV)
Love Is Indispensable
And yet I will show you the most excellent way.
1 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. 2 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.
Possession of the charismata is not the sign of the Spirit; Christian love is.
–Dr. Gordon Fee
3 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.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
It should be simply impossible for us to think unkindly of anyone. “Beloved, let us love” (1 John 4:7).
There is enough love and enough power in the cross of Christ to enable us to forget past hurts and continue our relationships as if there had never been anything wrong. Even with the best intentions, this will never be done in human strength; only the Holy Spirit of Jesus can enable us to forget our pains and hurts. If you choose to build up the memories of those hurts that other people have inflicted on you, you will pollute, corrupt, and destroy all of your relationships. Resentment has destructive power, but the grace of Christ has a deeper power to keep human relationships as clean and fresh as springtime.
–Dennis F. Kinlaw
6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.
“I would, my brothers and sisters, that we could all imitate the pearl oyster. A hurtful particle intrudes itself into its shell, and this vexes and grieves it. It cannot eject the evil, and what does it do but cover it with a precious substance extracted out of its own life, by which it turns the intruder into a pearl. Oh, that we could do so with the provocations we receive from our fellow Christians, so that pearls of patience, gentleness, long-suffering, and forgiveness might be bred within us by that which has harmed us.”
–Charles Haddon Spurgeon
But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 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. 12 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.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Thessalonians 1:3 (NIV)
We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Colossians 1:4-5 (NLT)
For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and your love for all of God’s people, which come from your confident hope of what God has reserved for you in heaven.
Perhaps you would enjoy a closer look at each of the words used to describe and explain love. William Barclay does a wonderful job HERE.
I am a great believer in lists! Make a list of 100 things that have shown God’s love, a parent’s love, a friend’s love, etc. — to you, for your whole life long. Let this list be a source of praise and thanksgiving to God in your prayers.
I am also a great believer in personal notes delivered by snail mail. They are now so rare, so precious! Who has loved you well and ought to be thanked? Who is in need of a loving word from you today, due to illness or bereavement or hard times? Send some loving words of affirmation!
Or perhaps someone you know is lonely and would enjoy a meal with you. Or needs difficult housework done, especially as winter approaches. What act of service could you do to show God’s love?
Think about it, and take some time today to pass along the love of Christ to others!
HERE is “The Gift of Love” — by Hal Hopson and sung by Doreen Lai.