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