1 Corinthians 13:1-8
“If I speak in the tongues men and of angels, but have not love, I am a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1).
Have you ever heard a speaker who said the right things but whose personality seemed ice-cold? Perhaps that person was trying to exercise his/her gifts without love. Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 13:1: “If I speak in the tongues men and of angels, but have not love, I am a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” The sound of fingernails screeched across a blackboard also comes to mind. Ouch!
Jerry Bridges says in his book, The Practice of Godliness: “ If we rephrased the virtues of love in 1 Corinthians 13 in terms of motivational statements, they might sound something like this:”
- I am patient with you because I love you and want to forgive you.
- I am kind to you because I love you and want to help you.
- I do not envy your possessions or your gifts because I love you and want you to have the best.
- I do not boast about my attainments because I love you and want to hear about yours.
- I am not proud because I love you and want to esteem you before myself.
- I am not rude because I love you and care about your feelings.
- I am not self-seeking because I love you and want to meet your needs.
- I am not easily angered by you because I love you and want to overlook your offenses.
- I do not keep a record of your wrongs because I love you, and “love covers a multitude of sins.”
First Corinthians 13 has often been called the “love chapter” of the Bible because it explains how divine love manifests itself in our lives as believers. The Greek word, agape describes this unique nature of caring love: It is patient; it is kind; it does not envy; it does not boast; it is not proud. It always protects, always trusts, always perseveres. Agape love never fails (4-8).
How might we be hindering God from expressing His love through us? From His perspective, eloquent speech, spiritual understanding, generosity, and self-sacrifice are worthless “gongs” if they are not accompanied by love (v. 1-3).
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).
Christ-likeness is living like Christ, loving like God. He longs to express His love for others through us. Will we allow Him this pleasure?
O for a love that knows no end,
A love that is strong and pure,
Reaching afar to both foe and friend,
So deep it will always endure. –R. De Haan