Paul says we Christians are running a race. Here's what I'm looking at on my run toward Christ.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Love is Supreme

Please read 1 Corinthians chapter 13.  This is an incredibly familiar passage of scripture and it is often called the love chapter.  I'm sure if you've been to a wedding you've heard this passage read.

Believe it or not, Paul did not write this passage for the Corinthians to use in their wedding ceremonies.  Paul wrote this letter because the church at Corinth was a screwed up, divided community living in the midst of extreme sin and paganism.  In the midst of all this Paul was teaching them the most excellent way.  Love.

Paul wanted the church at Corinth to know, and God wants you to know, why love is supreme.  Below are some reasons why love is supreme that can be found in the thirteen verses of the chapter.

1) Love is essential for our lives to have meaning.

"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophesy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing." 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

These are strong words.  All the gifts of the Spirit listed in the previous chapter are pointless without love.  Giving to the poor is pointless without love.  Good things done without love are without purpose.
So, we must ask, "What is love?" (If you said 'baby don't hurt me' in your head you're not alone.  That song's stuck in my head now, too.)

"Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."  1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Do things in that definition of love and you will leave a Christ-like legacy.  Your life will have immense meaning.

2) Spiritual gifts will fade but love remains for eternity.

"Love never fails (ends).  But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.  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 childish ways behind me.  Now we see but a poor 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."  1 Corinthians 13:8-12

The gifts of the Spirit point to the Almighty God.  They point to Yahew and His character.  When we see God, the three in one, face to face we will not need the gifts of the Spirit.  The gifts act as a mirror.  Why would we look at a reflection of God when we will have the ability to look at Him and His glory face to face?  We won't.

Love, however, is an attribute of God.  1 John tells us that God is love.  That doesn't mean that God is only love, but that God is the definition of love.  He is love and He is eternal, so love is eternal.  The gifts of the Spirit will fade but love remains for eternity.

3) Love is superior to faith and hope.

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love.

(I'm stealing the next to points from my study Bible and a Bible Gateway commentary.)  Faith is the foundation and content of God's message.  Hope is our attitude and focus as Christians.  Love is the action that emanates from our hope and faith.

In heaven faith will be swallowed up in actual sight.  Hope will be swallowed up by enjoyment.  But love will not pass, rather our love will be made perfect.

Love is supreme.  Love is the most excellent way.  It will never fade.  It makes everything we do have meaning.  It will one day be made perfect in us.  And the bottom line is "We love because He first loved us."  1 John 4:19.  Live your life in the most excellent way.  Spread the love given to you by God today.

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