LOVE ONE ANOTHER
God, give me fresh insights as I read a familiar chapter.
Read 1 Corinthians 12:31b—13:13
31 Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.
Love Is Indispensable
And yet I will show you the most excellent way.
13 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. 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. 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. 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.
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.
ReflectHow does our culture define love?
This is the best-known chapter in 1 Corinthians and one of the best-known in the Bible. It may also be one of the least understood; it is not, as is often assumed, about romantic attachment or warm feelings. This majestic hymn to love is about sacrificial love, which starts not with the emotions, but with the determination to commit to others and to seek their good. It is an act of the will in response to God’s great love in Christ.
It is how we are to live in the new family of Jesus’ followers, his church, his body. We find it strange to be told to love because we see love as a feeling rather than a decision. To be patient, to keep no record of wrongs, and all the other things that Paul mentions here are choices we make as we decide to put the interests of others before our own. It involves loving not just those we get along with but those we find difficult. No one says that this is easy; we do need the help of the Holy Spirit. Love, rather than many impressive spiritual gifts, is the way that we shall grow as disciples and witness to the world. Those gifts, valuable as they are, will not last, but love will be with us forever (13).
Read through the list of love’s qualities again, and identify areas where you might need to change.
O God, the source of all love, be my supply in areas of weakness.