“If I have all the eloquence of men or of angels, but speak without love, I am simply a gong booming or a cymbal clashing. If I have the gift of prophecy, understanding all the mysteries there are, and knowing everything, and if I have faith in all its fullness, to move mountains, but without love, then I am nothing at all. If I give away all that I possess, piece by piece, and if I even let them take my body to burn it, but am without love, it will do me no good whatever.
Love is always patient and kind; it is never jealous; love is never boastful or conceited; it is never rude or selfish; it does not take offense and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins but delights in the truth; it is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes.
Love does not come to an end. But if there are gifts of prophecy the time will come when they must fail; or the gift of languages (tongues), it will not continue forever; and knowledge–for this, too, the time will come when it must fail. For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophesying is imperfect; but once perfection comes, all imperfect things will disappear.
When I was a child, I used to talk like a child, and think like a child, and argue like a child, but now I am a man, all childish ways are put behind me. Now we are seeing a dim reflection in a mirror, but then we shall be seeing face to face. The knowledge that I have now is imperfect, but then I shall know as fully as I am known. In short, there are three things that last: faith, hope and love; and the greatest of these is love.” (I Corinthians 13)
Every time I read I Corinthians 13, I have to wear my steel toed boots because it is full of hard sayings. This chapter shows the standard to which God measures our level of love towards others. It is the standard of love. As believers, we are now under the New Covenant that Jesus purchased with His blood. There are only two laws under this covenant: 1) LOVE the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, mind and might and 2) love your neighbor as yourself. And here is the rub. It is easy to love God right?
We go to church and shout the roof down with our praises and spend time in His Word and in prayer but how to do we treat others? How we treat others is a direct reflection on Him because like the song says “they shall know we are Christians by our LOVE.” There was a fad a few years ago WWJD..what would Jesus do? It may have been a fad, but it is nonetheless true. Would Jesus talk to that cashier like that or that policeman? Would Jesus leave the waitress no tip because she’s having a bad day? We, as believers, need to be aware of Him because He is WITH us throughout our day.
I remember when I was young and working in a pharmacy. We were checking out a couple and we had to ask questions when the woman wrote a check. She got aggravated and began snapping and being very rude to us for asking her these questions. Of course, we had to ask for a place of employment too and she yelled, “we are pastors!” We were shocked when she said that and her husband hung his head in shame. He was so embarrassed. She wasn’t though, she just took her bag and flounced off in a huff. But in reality, how many times have I done something similar? Coming from my secret place and then being rude to someone in town because I was impatient.
The Bible says we are to examine our hearts regularly. We must take stock of the level of love in our lives. I’m talking about AGAPE love. God’s love. Supernatural love. The ability to love above all things. We have to take stock because God is. His eyes are always looking for His love in the earth. The ONLY way He can reach the lost is through us showing forth His love to a lost world.
Let’s examine the “measuring stick.”
LOVE is always patient and kind
LOVE is never jealous or envious of others
LOVE is never boastful or conceited
LOVE is never rude or selfish
LOVE does not take offence at anything
LOVE is not resentful
LOVE takes no pleasure in other people’s sins
LOVE delights in the Truth–God’s Truth
LOVE is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope and to endure whatever comes
A pretty tall order don’t you think? Is it possible? Yes, it is because Jesus did it and He prayed for us to do it in the Garden of Gethsemane in John 17. I have realized something in this chapter that I overlooked.
In the Christian world, people put a lot of stock in the spiritual gifts of prophecy, tongues, words of knowledge, and wisdom. Paul says that these things will eventually be done away with because when we are in eternity we won’t need tongues or prophecy or supernatural knowledge! We will know all things even as we are known. What does this mean?
The things of real, eternal value are FAITH, HOPE, AND LOVE. AND THE GREATEST OF THESE IS LOVE. Jesus told us to store up treasures in heaven and not on earth. Putting our spiritual “eggs” into gifts needed for victory in the earth without pursuing love, faith and hope is unwise.
Ask yourself if you are living in the fullness of Agape love. Are you meeting this standard? I know I need to pursue these eternal gifts more! Am I saying that prophesy, tongues, wisdom and knowledge are not good gifts? Absolutely NOT! We need them to get victory in our lives because we know in part now. BUT we must value the eternal gifts and give them our attention to pursue. In reality, when we are full of the eternal gifts, all the other gifts will naturally flow from us. So these three things are eternal: faith, hope and love…and the greatest of these is LOVE.
Don’t know Him?