And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. ~1 Corinthians 13:2
In Chicago many years ago, a little boy attended a Sunday school that I know of. When his parents moved to another part of the city, the little fellow still attended the same Sunday school, although it meant a long, tiresome walk each way. A friend asked him why he went so far and told him that there were plenty of others just as good that were nearer to his home. "They may be as good for others, but not for me," was his reply. "Why not?" she asked. "Because they love a fellow over there," he replied.
Love, as our culture pictures it, is a sensual, superficial, and fickle emotion. It finds its meaning in what makes the individual feel good. Paul wrote 1 Corinthians 13 to correct this twisted and incorrect view. In our devotion this morning, we want to see the imperative, the impact, and impetus of real love.
There is the primacy of love.
Love is the driver of relationships and the motivation behind these relationships. Without love, we are just mechanical. Without love, relationships are meaningless. Without love, there is apathy and indifference. Without love, we are selfish and self-exalting. Love is an unselfish concern and expression of our innermost desire for the good and welfare of the people that are in our life. Love looks past the faults and failures and sees service and encouragement as the ingredients for a healthy and thriving relationship with others. Without love, we are nothing.
There is the performance of love.
Love is always in motion. Love is kind, gentle, concerned, proactive, selfless, and sacrificial. It does not find its satisfaction in the sin and failure of others, but rather it rejoices in truth. It never looks to destroy but always towards restoration. It gives up so that others might benefit. It performs without looking for compensation or repayment. It is first in action and not last. It is incredibly longsuffering and patient. It endures pain and heartache. It looks for solutions and not for an escape. It believes in others, hopes in others, and invests in others. Without love, we are nothing.
There is the permanence of love.
Love never fails. Love always wins. Love overcomes a multitude of sins. Love is what sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. Love is why Jesus suffered and bled. Love is why Jesus endured such contradiction of sinners. Distance, time, and ingenuity cannot out-do love. Love never fails! Love just keeps going. Real love becomes stronger. Real love is the highest pinnacle of Christian maturity. Real love separates a real Christian from a nominal Christian. Real love instills confidence in others. Real love is why people stay and not move away. Without love, we are nothing.
When you compare yourself to the performance of love found in 1 Corinthians 13, how do you measure up? Is your love mechanical or motivated? Is your love longsuffering or longing to get out? Is your love self-centered or sacrificial? We are so like God when we love like God. Remember: without love, we are nothing!
Have a love-enriched God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Ezekiel 16-17