The Way of Love
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
(1 Corinthians 13:1-7 ESV)
There is something about living the Christian life that should be appealing to anyone and everyone that encounters the Gospel. Something that is so genuine, so open and so free that it is just pouring out of every member of the body. The something is love. As I sat last night and pondered over the words in this passage, begging for wisdom and guidance I recognized something within the words. Paul is talking to the church in Corinth, a church that was so eager to use their spiritual gifts that they started to misuse them. Paul’s words, His guidance was not to throw the gifts out, but to pursue them. His exhortation down that line starts in 14, but the premise starts here. The Way of Love.
As I read the words, I have to recognize two things. First, Paul is again reiterating that regardless of the gifts and the talents that we have, without love they are nothing. This is nothing new, as Christians we should know and operate out of love. There is something much deeper going on in the words though, something that pulls at the strings of our character. If we read the well quoted passage about the qualities of love, and we put into context of our character we find that the passage digs into our souls. The deepest parts of who we are, and why we do what we do.
Our character should be patient and kind; it does not envy or boast; it’s not arrogant or rude.
In a series of passages that talks about our spiritual gifts, we find that the apostle Paul is writing for an inward reflection, of an outward response. If our character is love, that is who we are on the deepest level, it’s qualities will be reflected outwardly towards everyone.
So, my prayer for this morning reads something like this:
I know that my heart needs to be focused and refocused on the finished work of the Cross. Your Son took my place, took my punishment and my guilt on that day. He defeated sin and death, an accomplishment that only He could do. I know that my heart doesn’t always reflect the nature of love, the perfect nature of Jesus. I beg Father, that you continue work in my heart, that you continue to press me deeper into the Gospel and that you teach me how to love Your bride. Let my character reflect Your nature, let my actions and my gifts flow from a heart that is deeply in love with You. Wrap me in your arms, hold me, so that I might know the love that can only come from you. Amen.