The Love Chapter | 1 Corinthians 13:1-12
1 Corinthians 13:1-12 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.
The Love Chapter. Find it in books of literature. Hear it read at weddings. Listen to its words put to music. This passage is so beautiful in its poetic flow and so powerful in its conceptual truth! But is it ever hard to apply.
Paul is pretty clear, isn’t he? The absence of love sucks the life and significance out of the most silver tongued speaker, the most profound prophet, the faith mountain mover, the radically dangerous giver, and the flaming martyr. 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.
Some Love-Me-Not’s: Not wanting what others have. Not boasting about my achievements (or the achievements of my kids). Not arrogant. Not foul and offensive. Not looking out for Number 1. Not a fly-off-the-handle-er. Not a “Wrongs” scorekeeper. Not secretively pleased when a person gets what’s coming to them.
Some Love-Me-Do’s: Patience. Kindness. Protection. Trust. Hope. Perseverance.
Living a life of love is not acting like a child (characterized by love-me-not’s) but acting like a spiritual grown up (characterized by love-me-do’s). So from one to ten—one being really childish love behavior and ten being real grown-up love behavior—where are you on the love scale? Be honest. Got some work to do? Yeah, me too.