1 Corinthians 13:1(NKJV)
13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.
Do you really understand what Paul is saying here at the beginning of what we call the “love chapter”? Why is love so important that it needs to be paired with spiritual gifts? What’s that about?
He is demonstrating that being filled with God’s character is more important than being bestowed with God’s gifts. In verse 2, Paul says that the vast knowledge he had is nothing without God’s love. In verse 3, Paul indicates that works and martyrdom without God’s love don’t benefit him spiritually at all.
So, what is it about love that spiritually profits us? People can do good for others and not be blessed with God’s love. People can learn much about scripture and not be spirit-filled or led. People can even do good works, and God won’t know them. (Matthew 25:41-46, Matthew 7:22-23) Why? They are not doing the right things for the right reasons. Matthew 7:22-23 says that some say they prophesied in His name and even cast out demons, yet Jesus cast them away from Him, calling them practitioners of lawlessness. That tells me they had not fully surrendered all that they were and had to Him as Lord of their lives. It also sadly tells us that God gives spiritual gifts to those who are not wholeheartedly His but think they are. We would all do well to heed.
Matthew 7:22-23 (NKJV)
22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
Brothers and sisters in Christ, love, God’s love, is an identifying sign that we are His. That’s what God looks for in us. It’s not just the acts we perform, it’s who we are being transformed into daily. You could say that these acts of love are the natural byproduct of God’s love in us just like good works are a natural byproduct of God gift of faith.
Can you substitute your name for “love” in the following scriptures? That’s the kind of fruit and change we need to examine ourselves for. Those that took the elements in an unworthy manner did not exhibit Godly love and did not truly appreciate what communion signifies. God wants those that are truly His around His table with Him.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8(NKJV)
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.
Pray with me, please: Father God, thanks for helping us to focus on what’s important to You and to understand that it is love that endures for all eternity. We all need to grow in Your love and to be transformed into that love and live it. We know that pleases You, and that’s what matters. Help us, change us, empowers us, bless us with the love that never fails. In Jesus’ name, amen.
copyright 2015, Pastors George and Sharon Billington, All Rights Reserved