Love Is the Greatest…

The God kind of Love is the source of true power…

Love starts by our loving God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength…

“Jesus answered, “Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.’”
(Mark 12:29-31)

As Covenant children of God, we are called to be the Distributors of God’s Love and Light into all the dark areas of this world.

What does the God kind of love look like?

For that answer we look to 1 Corinthians 13:

13:1-13 In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul gave evidence of the Corinthians’ lack of love in the utilization of spiritual gifts; 1 Corinthians 13 defines real love, and 1 Corinthians 14 shows how love works.

Love is more important than all the spiritual gifts exercised in the church body—love demonstrates the ultimate purpose of human existence.

God’s love is the reason this world exists and why He wants to spend eternity with us.

We have the wonderful opportunity to love Him in return and love others because we understand how love changes everything for good.

Great faith, acts of dedication or sacrifice, and miracle-working power produce very little without love.

Love makes our actions and gifts useful.

Although people have different gifts, everyone can have a huge amount of love.

13:4-7 Our society confuses love and lust.

Unlike lust, God’s kind of love is directed outward toward others, not inward toward ourselves.

It is utterly unselfish.

This kind of love goes against our natural inclinations.

It is impossible to have this kind of love unless God helps us set aside our own natural desires so that we can love without expecting anything in return.

We can’t manufacture this kind of love when we don’t feel it.

We gain it only through the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5).

We never love perfectly; only Jesus can.

Thus, the more we become like Christ, the more love we will show to others.

13:5 Paul says that love “is not irritable.”

Sometimes we’re irritated or angered by others, and we don’t know why.

Not all irritability stems from sinful or selfish motives, although the irritable treatment of others is surely wrong.

Much irritability comes from a love of perfection, a deep desire for programs, plans, meetings, and structures to be run perfectly.

A desire to run things perfectly can erupt into anger at those who get in the way or ruin an outcome.

When we get easily irritated, it helps to remember that perfection exists only in God.

We need to love Him and our fellow Christians, not the visions we have for perfection here on earth.

13:7 Before we trivialize these words about love by assuming they can easily fit us, we should pause to consider that they actually describe God’s character.

These are not sugary claims. They are substantial descriptions of the way God perfectly relates to us.

The Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write a breathtakingly beautiful description of the nature of God.

Only God can put His character in us and help us love like this.

13:9-12 What if we do a poor job of loving others?

Paul gives us hope:

(1) Right now we have only partial and incomplete knowledge; we can’t do anything perfectly (13:9).

(2) We are immature, like children, in how we love others. As we grow closer to Christ, we will learn to love others better (13:11).

(3) We lack clarity about the right way to love. Like a cloudy mirror, we don’t perfectly reflect Jesus to others (13:12). (For more from Paul on how we are being transformed, see 2 Corinthians 3:16-18.)

13:10-12 When Paul wrote of knowing “everything completely, just as God now knows me completely,” he was referring to when we will see Jesus Christ face-to-face.

God gives believers spiritual gifts for their lives on earth in order to build up, serve, and strengthen fellow Christians so that they can be better encouraged and equipped to share the love of God with the world.

Spiritual gifts are given only to believers.

In eternity, we will be made perfect and complete and will be in the very presence of God.

We will no longer need spiritual gifts, so they will come to an end.

Then, we will have a full understanding and appreciation for one another as unique expressions of God’s infinite creativity.

We will use our differences as a reason to praise God!

Based on that perspective, let us treat each other with the same love and unity that we will one day share.

13:13 Paul wrote that love endures forever.

In morally corrupt Corinth, love had become a mixed-up term with little meaning.

Today, people are still confused about love.

Love is the greatest of all human qualities and is the very essence of God himself (1 John 4:8).

Love involves unselfish service to others.

Faith is the foundation and content of God’s message; hope is the attitude and focus; love is the action.

When faith and hope are in line, we are free to love completely because we understand how God loves.

Does your faith fully express itself in loving others?

“If faith is the substance of things hoped for, as Hebrews 11:1 tells us, it will be superfluous once these things have arrived.

Similarly with hope. But love is greater than these, because when our troubles are over and our bodies have been changed in the resurrection, our minds will be steadied by it, so that they will no longer desire now one thing, now another.”
— Theodoret of Cyrus (5th century Byzantine theologian and bishop)
____

Max Lucado’s Life Lessons…

1 Corinthians 12:31b—13:13

The Corinthians compared spiritual gifts and ministries. They rated a person’s value to the church by that person’s gifts.

All spiritual gifts are equally valuable to the church. But love is even greater than all of them combined.

I saw a shard of [agape] love between an elderly man and woman who have been married for fifty years.

The last decade has been marred by her dementia. The husband did the best he could to care for his wife at home, but she grew sicker; he, older.

So he admitted her to full-time care.

One day he asked me to visit her, so I did.

Her room was spotless, thanks to his diligence.

She, horizontal on the bed, was bathed and dressed, though going nowhere.

“I arrive at 6:15 a.m.,” he beamed.

“You’d think I was on the payroll. I feed her, bathe her, and stay with her.

I will until one of us dies.”

Agape love.

I know a father who, out of love for his son, spends each night in a recliner, never sleeping more than a couple of consecutive hours.

A car accident paralyzed the teenager. To maintain the boy’s circulation, therapists massage his limbs every few hours.

At night the father takes the place of the therapists.

Though he’s worked all day and will work again the next, he sets the alarm to wake himself every other hour until sunrise. . . .

What is this love that endures decades, passes on sleep, and resists death to give one kiss?

Call it agape love, a love that bears a semblance of God’s.
(From 3:16 by Max Lucado)

Let us read aloud the description of love in chapter 13, stopping after each word that describes love and thinking about what it means.

How would such love look if you were to share it with others in your daily life?
____

Come join the Adventure!

Skip 🕊️

Author: SPARKS FROM THE ANVIL OF LIFE

This is an open forum where we look into and investigate the Rhema Mysteries of God's Word; and also other issues of importance for our day and time.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: