ALL YOU NEED!
Mighty God, may knowing you be the only reward I ever seek. I love you and I praise you.
Read 1 CORINTHIANS 13:1-7
13 If I speak in the tongues[a] 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. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] 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. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectThink of a time when you experienced God’s love through a fellow Christian. How did they reflect Christ’s love in the ways they treated you?
These verses are frequently read at weddings, but in their setting in this letter, they are a call to look outward to the needs of others, sandwiched between two chapters on the Spirit’s gifts (1 Corinthians 12 and 14). Love is opposed to the self-promoting culture of Corinth – and much of today’s world – for love focuses outside ourselves. Paul approaches this from two angles.
First, he uses several examples to show that without an attitude of love, actions are empty (vs 1-3). Lots of these examples reflect gifts mentioned in the previous chapter: tongues, prophecy, knowledge, understanding, faith. Do them without love and nothing is achieved, because they won’t point others to Christ, but draw attention to the doer.
Second, Paul piles up fifteen characteristics of love in just four verses (vs 2-7), some positive (what love is) and some negative (what love isn’t). True spirituality, true knowledge of God, is not about feelings. Rather, the way you know if a person is spiritual, says Paul, is by their generous love, reflecting and pointing to the love of Christ for us.
Read verses 4-7 aloud and replace ‘love/it’ with your own name to remind you of the character Christ calls you to have. Note the places where you fail, and respond by asking for Jesus’ forgiveness and renewing love.
Gracious God, teach me about love, real love, your kind of love. Lord, only you can enable me to live faithfully by love.
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