1 Corinthians 13: Love Is …
“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.”
1 Corinthians 13:1, NASB*
This chapter stands among the most well-known chapters in scripture with The Lord’s Pray and The Shepherd’s Psalm. It’s quoted at weddings, and if the love chapter is practiced, again at anniversaries. Many definitions of love have been offered through these verses, which are less about definition and more about the character of love. The main idea that rises from the sea of words reveals without love, our boat sinks. Or as Paul puts it, without love—
My words are “a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”
My gifts of knowledge, prophecy, and faith reveal “I am nothing.”
My good deeds and sacrifices “profit me nothing.”
Love provides the foundation for a life lived with fulfilled purpose.
As we all know, some people are easier to love than others. Jesus addresses this challenge in Luke 6.
“But I say to you who hear,
- love your enemies,
- do good to those who hate you,
- bless those who curse you,
- pray for those who mistreat you …
- And if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For sinners love those who love them …
- But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return;
- and your reward will be great,
- and you will be sons of the Most High;
for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
Evil stared me in the eye with a smile on his face. My flesh said flee. He wasn’t worth wasting time or effort speaking the words of the gospel to. Clang, clang. My tongue would be only a bell’s clapper. The Spirt of Christ reminded me, someone shared the gospel with me. God wanted to show mercy to this one even as He did to me—and He wanted to show it through me. He wanted this man to know the love He invested in him through the death of His Son. At that moment I learned what love is.
“He who did not spare His own Son,
but delivered Him up for us all,
how will He not also with Him freely give us all things.”
Love withholds nothing needed and is in its power to give. Our heavenly Father is love. He manifested His love for us by giving us His greatest treasure, His Son. While we were His enemies.
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us,
in that while we were yet sinners,
Christ died for us.”
In Romans 5:10, we are called God’s enemies. Yet, love provided our need. Some receive His love. Many more do not acknowledge it to salvation’s end, but still He gives it to all. As the Lord tells his disciples, freely we have received, freely give. The love of Christ in us demands it and accomplishes it even when we face our enemies.
God revealed his love for the man that day and I learned what love is. The man did not receive the gift of God’s love. Within a couple of months, he died while walking down a road toward more evil. Did he call out to God before his last breath? I don’t know. But I do know, God had reached out to him in love. Maybe He did again.
For Thought: How do you define love? How do we grow in love?
Scripture for Today: 1 Corinthians 13:4-13; Love never fails. Does it always accomplish its purpose? Did it fail for the man mentioned in today’s post?
Our Prayer: Father, strengthen our spirit through your Holy Spirit’s power in us to love as you love us. May we understand the great dimension of your love through Christ’s love for us and fill us with your fullness. Do this according to your power in us, that others will come to know your love and your glory. May the glory be forever yours.**
*all scriptures are from NASB ** Taken from Ephesians 3:16-21