In 2020, excessive shakings turned America and the world upside down. As a result, many people have become more polarized, racist and agitated with what is happening in society. Even Christians are separating from one another and forming new camps of hostility based on color, social perspective, and political affiliation. Some churches have people leaving and others coming. Some are excited, while others are angry. Some are gossiping, others praying; some like the shaking, but others hate it.
It seems that we have lost sight of the most important thing.
"And now I will show you the most excellent way. If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal." 1 Cor. 12:31, 13:1.
Hold it, please don't put this article down because you've heard of love before.
Knowing a doctrine isn't the same as living it. Give yourself a test; read this and see if you are actually living love. 1 Corinthians 13 tells us that love is the most important thing. It tells us that without it, we are nothing. This year, maybe some good Christians have lost it along the way.
1) Four Types of Good Churches
The Bible tells us of four good churches, that without love, are good for nothing. I am not being sarcastic when I ask: "See which church in the scripture below most resembles the great church that you attend".
"If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have 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." 1 Cor. 13:2-3
These two verses point to 1. The prophetic church, 2. The faithful church, 3. The accurate doctrine church, and 4. The compassionate church. If your church emphasizes one or more of these qualities, you have found a good one. The church can be so passionate about their mission that they would die in the flames to defend it. However, if they do not have love, you gain nothing.
2) Love Definition List
Love is the most important thing, and we must live it. Verses 4-7 of 1 Corinthians 13 give us a description of love so we can be sure what the Holy Spirit expects of us.
You can read these verses for yourself, but I will give you the list in easy-to-understand language. You will discover that love is not a feeling, but an action and lifestyle. This chapter tells us what love is and what we are when love is flowing in us. Love is:
Love is amazing; it cares about others so much that it puts them first in every way. Love expresses a polite, positive, peaceful and victorious attitude so as to lift up and encourage others
Love makes light of offenses and will not give up or lose hope in someone. Love watches over others and overflows with kindness and patience. It does not distance itself when things get challenging.
So, how are you doing on the self-test so far? Has any of your love dropped to the ground during this year of polarization?
All of us can fall off the bike on one side or the other, but if we are disciples of Christ, we get back up and keep loving.
3) Understanding More About Love
Verses 8-13 of 1 Corinthians 13 tell us about the future. They say that our prophecies, tongues and knowledge will pass away when that which is perfect comes.
Of course, that is when the Lord Jesus returns and we are made like Him. At that time we will know as we are known. We will discover that everything we understand at this time is only a small part of the picture.
Our present knowledge will pass away because what we discover in eternity will greatly overshadow our present understanding.
Three things will not pass away - love, faith and hope. They will always remain.
4) The Man in the Mirror
Our understanding now is compared to someone seeing themselves in a mirror. This was written in Bible times. Back then, a mirror was a polished piece of bronze. You had to move the mirror around to see yourself, and it was a dim reflection full of distortion and disfiguration caused by the metal's flaws. You looked like a clown in front of a wobbly fun-house mirror. That is how the text describes our present-day understanding of spiritual things.
When we do not embrace love, it is because we do not have the right priority or perspective of what is really spiritual. We miss the very thing that is most important. We may think highly of our ministry emphasis because we have great faith, powerful prophecies, understanding to comprehend great mysteries, or we serve the poor. All of that is inferior Christianity if we do not love.
5) Don't Be Childish
1 Corinthians 13 says that if we are immature, we do not love each other. We are childish and it is time for us to grow up. When we become an adult in the Lord, we put away childish things and we love one another.
It takes a great deal of growing in the Lord to love, even when things do not go our way. Study the love definition list; are you bearing all things, hoping all things, and enduring all things? This is impossible to accomplish without the Holy Spirit in your life.
People in the world cannot do this, but you can. Once God's love operates in and through you, it never fails, never gives up, and is unstoppable. If you are mature, you have this love working in you.
6) The Greatest of These
Finally, our text focuses on the greatest of the greats.
First, it explains that everything we know will get upgraded so dramatically that our present knowledge will be insignificant in eternity. It affirms three things that will always remain; faith, hope and love. The greatest of these is love.
The whole Bible is about two things - loving God and loving people. Everything else pales in comparison, so what should we do?
7) Let The Holy Spirit Change You
Ask the Lord to fill you with everything on the love definition list. Note the qualities on the list which seem most foreign to your behavior, and ask the Lord to put those qualities in you.
He will remind you of your request, and give you the chance to obey Him in the heat of the moment.
He will put His divine nature in you. After receiving it, you must learn to keep the love of God living in you.
Do the following:
- Forgive always
- Bless those who curse you
- Pray for those who use you
- Express the love list that God has put inside of you to others.
If you love, you will encourage, support, help, protect, provide, equip, give, instruct, heal, befriend, and minister.
You will be filled with all the goodness of God, and you will love it. You will experience the amazing love of God and the wonderful love of His people like never before.