The Love Chapter | 1 Corinthians 13
1 Corinthians 13 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 prophecy 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. 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 with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 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. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
The Love Chapter. We find it in books of literature. We hear it read at weddings. We listen to its words put to music. This passage is beautiful in its poetic flow, and powerful in its conceptual truth. But is it ever hard to apply! It would have been convicting enough if Paul just left us to deal with love in all its abstractness. But, as usual, he had to go and get practical.
Paul explains that the absence of love sucks the significance out of the most gifted speaker, paralyzes the most profound prophet, and makes great faith fall flat. No love will bankrupt radical giving and quench the fire of the flaming martyr. Love shows up in everyday life. It doesn’t want what others have. It doesn’t boast about achievement. It doesn’t fly off the handle. It is never secretly pleased when a person gets what’s coming to them. True love demonstrates kindness, trust, hope, and patience. It never gives up.
Can you imagine what our homes would look like and feel like if we began to apply this well-known chapter? Can you imagine how the atmosphere at our schools and workplace would change? Can you imagine the impact churches could make in their communities if the Christians in them…well, acted like Christians? What will you do today to begin to take “The Love Chapter” off the page and apply it in your life?
Father, give us the desire to love others and the strength to love deeply. Help us to move from simply reading Your word to emphatically responding to it. In Jesus’ name. Amen.