Word #7 Love
1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing . . . 13So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. —1 Corinthians 13:1-3, 13
Today we come to the seventh word without which all the other words will be essentially useless in family transformation and health. The word is love.
All of 1 Corinthians 13 is dedicated to the concept of love. The final verse in the chapter says,“So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” For all its popularity in our society, love is a misunderstood word. Love is also an abused and misused word. But it is a powerful, biblical word. It’s a family word.
The Bible has much to say about this concept of love and its transforming power in broken marriages, severed relationships, and struggling families. For example, Romans 13:8 tells us love is a family debt worth having:“Owe no man anything except to love one another.” Colossians 2:2 tells us Christ’s love binds our families together“that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love.” And 1 Peter 4:8 says love helps us avoid focusing on family failure: “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” No wonder, then that 1 Corinthians 13:13 says, “The greatest of these is love.”
Tragically, many people foolishly think other things can replace love in a family. In fact, 1 Corinthians 13 gives us five values people choose over love in their homes:
1. Talk (v.1). “If I speak with tongues of men and of angels” but love is absent, what we have is noise.
2. Knowledge (v.2). Spiritual and practical knowledge without love creates a cold and harsh family environment.
3. Faith (v.2). Loveless faith that imposes belief in God like a straight jacket results in unbelief in the next generation.
4. Compassion (v.3). Compassion for the world that neglects genuine home needs disconnects the family from godly living.
5. Martyrdom (v.3). Sacrificial living devoid of love leaves a family bitter.
Love is the greatest thing. It is the transforming power in the kingdom of God and in our family.
Why is love the greatest? Because “love never fails”(v.8 nkjv).
You say, I have some big things that have to be conquered in my family.
Beautiful! Love never fails. Love never fails to win what God desires to be won in your family.
— James MacDonald
· Which of the “love substitutes” do I find most tempting to use in my family?
· What am I doing to keep love at the center?
Prayer – Father in heaven, I realize the love You are talking about is not love I can generate, but love from You that can flow through each of us in the family. Your love generates the longing I have in me for more apparent evidence that You’re “in the house” and in our family. Thank You for Your faithfulness to us. God, whatever You need to do in me and to me to bring that about, please do it. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.