Stonerise Care Blog
The Priority of Love
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal …. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor…but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up, does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil, does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things… .And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (I Cor. 13:1-13)
Have you ever noticed the emphasis in the Bible on this thing called “love”? One special passage (I Cor. 13) has even earned itself the suggested title, “The Love Chapter”. Portions of it are often read or recited at weddings, vow renewals, and other romantic venues. Inscriptions from it adorn plaques and pictures and wedding bands. It is a precious passage that promotes the value of God’s brand of unselfish commitment and love of others. Notice several elements of it.
The Excellence of Love (I Cor. 12:31-13:3, 13) This chapter is found in the center of three that deal with the spiritual gifts that Christ gives to His church, those spiritual inward motivations and abilities to serve one another. That subject brought proud comparisons, confusion, and division among the Corinthian church family. But Paul introduces a more excellent way, the way of love (12:31). The exercise of any of the gifts without love robs those activities of their value and effectiveness. Love excellently triumphs over anyone’s giftedness. Love must motivate and accompany any service to others. “The greatest of these is love.”
The Expressions of Love (I Cor. 13:4-7) We may think of flowers, jewelry, tickets to a favored sporting event at the coliseum, and other gifts and romantic gestures. But Paul goes deeper than that as he characterizes this kind of love with inward attitudes and expressions of patience, kindness, endurance, hope, faith, and loyalty. He nixes thoughts of rudeness, selfishness, irritability, pride, or malice. Even when we are doing the flowers and gifts, if our inward attitudes are not expressive of genuine love, then the outward offerings will be lacking in value and garner little appreciation.
The Endurance of Love (I Cor. 13:8-13; I John 3:1-3, 11-23; 4:7-5:3) Even though spiritual gifts may come or go, though incomplete knowledge becomes complete, even though we grow, leaving childhood behind and reaching maturity, even though one day we will see more clearly …. even though lots of things may change, God’s brand of love will endure; it will not fail; it will last forever. It will endure eternally because “God is love” and He is eternal. It will abide forever among God’s children as we will eternally love Him and one another perfectly!
So, how’s your “love life”? Use I Cor. 13 to evaluate your view and exercise of God’s brand of love.
For Prayer Today
Ask God to make you a greater dispenser of His love today, to Him, to your family, and to others around you who need.
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