I am beyond excited that for the next three days we will be studying what is my favorite chapter in the bible! And I’m guessing it may be one of your favorites too! It’s the chapter of love. Verses 4-13 were read at my wedding, nearly 15 years ago. This entire study is about knowing we are loved, and I hope that over the past 8 weeks, you have felt that love wash over you.
As stated, we will be in this chapter for 3 full days. Each day, I will share the entire chapter, but the observation and application specific to the verses for the day. Let’s dig into this most amazing love-filled chapter. Today, we will look at verses 1-3 and we are looking at the NIV.
13 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 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 do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 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. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 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 the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a 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.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Note what the gifts are: speaking in tongues, prophecy, faith, possessions. However, without love none of this matters! We must have and show love. Love is the only thing you can never keep for yourself…you must give it away. Freely give it away. You cannot gain a thing without having love. Emptiness will be everywhere, without love.
Paul is stating here that regardless of the language he speaks, or you understand, without love, it’s nothing but noise. The Greek for this word (agape) indicates a selfless concern for the welfare of others. As in the love Jesus has for us that he died on the cross. He loved us that much. Paul also realizes that no matter how much knowledge one has, you must exercise that knowledge in love, or we are nothing. Think of all of Jesus’ teachings while on earth. All of those lessons, were fully given in love so that we would know and could spend eternity with our heavenly Father. Even in suffering (Jesus), it was all done out of love. Without love, it would mean nothing.
And when you look at love in that respect, you can see how you cannot keep it for yourself…but rather must give it away.
These first three chapters really make me stop and think about how I freely give love away…or do I expect a payment for it? If it’s the latter, then it’s not love. It’s empty. I must love freely and willingly. God has put many things in place to help with this. First and foremost, my family. There is unconditional love there. Second, my husband. I’ve been fortunate to make it through all the ups and downs without saying the marriage is over. But that takes a lot of work…and giving your love away for free! And yes…I can attest to the fact that my husband gives away his love to me. No relationship is single sided.
I am learning to find love in all of creation. Everything that our eye can lay sight on, and everything that we can hear was given with love from our Creator. Music is a gift from above. Entertainment of movies and television is a gift from above. The words we read from the pages of the latest New York Times best seller list is a gift from above. God gave us all that out of love. He gave it freely to us…it wasn’t anything we earned or deserved.
Dear Lord, love is an amazing action that You first demonstrated to the world with it’s creation. Everything in this world was given to us in love. May we realized that nothing can be given without love, for if it is, than it is empty, and we are nothing. You gave us the ultimate in love by giving us Jesus. Help me to always love like Jesus without thinking twice about it and without allowing this world to tell me otherwise. May I freely give without ever expecting something in return, and may I learn that the giving is the reward, because the feeling is full of the knowledge that I gave my love, in the simplest of ways. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.