Bible Pathways - November 26, 2005
Read 1 Corinthians 10
Guidelines for worship; the Lord's Supper; spiritual gifts; charity (love), the greatest gift
Surprising as it may seem to the world, from God's point of view it is more important to be known for your loving-kindness, thoughtfulness, and consideration of others than for being a famous evangelist, preacher, or teacher. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity (love), I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal (I Corinthians 13:1).
It is also more important to be loving as God loves than for being the most prominent prophetic speaker in the world. Paul went on to reveal this God-given ability to love: Though I have the gift of prophecy (forth-telling or foretelling), and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity (love), I am nothing — worthless to God (13:2).
Charity suffereth long, and is kind . . . charity vaunteth not itself (is not boastful) (13:4). It does not brag with inflated ideas of its own importance, nor insist on its own way, and love is never rude to anyone. Neither is it self-seeking, quick to take offense, or resentful. Love does not think evil of anyone. God-imparted love is patient — never envious or boastful. Our thankfulness for God loving us should cause us to love others in the same way.
Another dimension of love is that it doth not behave itself unseemly (rudely), seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil (13:5), meaning it is tactful, charitable, and willing to forgive. Love causes us to be more concerned for the feelings and rights of others and less preoccupied with our own. The love of God causes us to give up seeking the best for ourselves or taking advantage of others. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves (Philippians 2:3).
Love also has a way of keeping us from listening to people who are anxious to pass on the latest gossip about the faults and failures of other brothers or sisters in Christ.
Love beareth all things . . . endureth all things (I Corinthians 13:7) without getting frustrated or angry. Charity never faileth (13:8), regardless of whether it is for friends, difficult people, or strangers. Every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love (I John 4:7-8).
10:24 another's wealth = the well-being of others; 10:25 shambles = meat market; 11:11 without = independent of; 11:13 comely = proper; 12:2 dumb = mute; 12:11 severally = individually; 12:24 tempered = united, assembled, combined; 12:25 schism = division; 13:1 charity = love; 13:12 now we see through a glass, darkly = all I am capable of knowing now is partial and incomplete.
Pray for The English International Shortwave Radio Broadcast in honor of Rick Hash · Government Officials: Rep. Steve Buyer (IN) and Rep. Shelley Capito (WV) · Country: Zimbabwe (11 million) in south-central Africa · Major languages: English and Shona · Limited religious freedom · 43% Protestant; 38% animism, mediums, and spirit-possession cults; 16% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Be glad in the Lord and rejoice at all times (Psalm 32:11).
Memory Verse for the Week: James 2:17