“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…” 1 Corinthians 13:1-8
I am sure that you have come to expect to see 1 Corinthians 13 referenced in sermons, devotionals, and podcasts throughout February and especially as we step into the week of Valentine’s Day. This chapter first speaks of the value of “having love” not only receiving but giving out and living out love above all else throughout life. If we are able to give wise and inspirational speeches, pep talks, or sermons, but if they are not curated in a heart filled with love, they are just noise. If we can speak the deepest and dearest truth, bring solutions to even the most complicated problems, being known as both brilliant and filled with faith most people only dream of but do not know, or are not known by our love, then we are nothing. We can work ourselves weary day and night gaining power, positions, and wealth then give generously of our time, talent and treasure, yet when we do not have love, we gain nothing.
Perhaps we have bought into the lie of the enemy that our value is completely tied to what we do, how much we make, and the applause of others, even to the detriment of our health, happiness, and relationships. We have forgotten that Jesus said His followers would first and foremost be known by their love. Most people would give up many things if it meant more time with the ones they love and many successful people who have the riches and fame of the world, would trade it in to have real love in their life. In God’s economy, if you have love, your life is an overflowing treasure.
The chapter continues to give the characteristics of love described in familiar words that reflect the spiritual fruit and biblical root of love that we all desire to be as well as receive. The world appears to be falling apart; marriage, families, communities, long-time friends separating over earthly quarrels, differences, and divisions. You have the opportunity to show love to everyone you come into contact with every day by being patient, kind, humble, and forgiving. Valentine’s Day is a great day to begin to examine our hearts and to take an honest look at God’s definition and expectation of love and ask ourselves what aspects of our love need some prayer and care. You do not need me to run through the details, God has spelled love out clearly in verses 4-8, but what I would love to do is pray with you. Would you please pray with me?
God, You are love; every aspect and action of love that Your Word explains and more than our earthly hearts and minds can contain. Your love gave us life in this extraordinary world, gave us eternal purpose, and most of all, You so loved the world that You gave Your one and only Son who loves us so much that He gave His life, paid our sin debt and gave us abundant, eternal life. Please reveal our shortcomings as we seek to delight Your heart and love our neighbor, spouse, family, and enemies. Remind us to say and show our love every day as deliberately and thoughtfully as we do on Valentine’s Day. Thank you for pouring Your love through us; fruitful, faithful, and never failing. In the love-filled name of Jesus we pray, Amen!
Serving Him with gladness,