May 13, 2020·Julian Webb
“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. 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. 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.”
— 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
In this week’s Pause Bible reading plan, we read a letter from the Apostle Paul to the church in Corinth, who seemed to have lost focus of what is most important. In the previous chapter, Paul affirms the expression of the gifts of the Spirit and stresses the importance of Christ-centered unity. He then turns a corner, teaching them that the fruit of the Spirit is far more important than the gifts of the Spirit. Paul explains that becoming loving people is far more important than being active, busy people who do good deeds, yet lack love.
It is easy to read this scripture without fully absorbing the truth behind this well-known passage. However, if we look closer, we begin to feel the weight of Paul’s words. As Christ followers, our identity is found when we choose to love the One who first loved us. Paul is not just encouraging us to love each other, he is teaching us that without reflecting the love of our Heavenly Father, we are nothing.
I’m amazed by the practical way Paul describes this type of love. He doesn’t beat around bush or use a parable. He gets right to it! He communicates an everlasting truth, as he identifies the characteristics of the type of love we are called to reflect. The following passage serves as a filter that we can use to “check” ourselves today!
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
— 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
In difficult times, it’s easy to become inwardly focused. However, trying times have a unique ability to create opportunities to reflect the faith, hope and unfailing love of Jesus Christ. This week, let’s pray and ask the Lord to invade our hearts in such a way, that His love is reflected in everything we do.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
— 1 Corinthians 13:13