Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Without Love, I Am Nothing!

I think this is one of the most beautiful, profound, and thought-provoking passages in the Bible. It's a call to examine ourselves. Paul points out a way of life superior to a life spent in the seeking and displaying of spiritual gifts. He shows them the way of love! The Corinthians were distracted with contentions and envious of one another's gifts. They apparently lacked love. Their conduct was driven by selfishness and pride, not love.

Love is supreme. Love is paramount. Love is necessary. Love is the Body of Christ's most distinguished trademark (it should be). Without love, all the various spiritual gifts are of no value. The gifts of speaking tongues (or languages, including those of angels), of prophesying, of having all knowledge, of faith that moves mountains, of utmost generosity, even martyrdom, are all meaningless unless we have agape (selfless, sacrificial, unconditional love). Our words and actions must be motivated by love.

Sadly, we often fall into the trap of wanting to be right rather than wanting to love well." (Jim Daly) I admit I sometimes fall into that trap. I am passionate for God's truths. However, I need to check my heart's motive/condition when I share about God, the Gospel, and the Bible whether it's done with love, grace, humility, gentleness, and respect, or with pride, arrogance, anger, frustration, and contempt. If we win every argument/debate but have not love, we are nothing... we win nothing! No matter how eloquently we speak or write, without love our words are worthless. Speak the truth in love! (Ephesians 4:15a) Even if we have unlimited knowledge and understanding about everything (using hyperbole :)) and superb faith (mountain-moving kind as mentioned in Matthew 17:20) but if we don't exercise our knowledge and faith in love, we're nothing. Even the greatest philanthropic acts and such sacrifice as martyrdom accomplish nothing without love. Love is summum bonum ("the highest good, especially as the ultimate goal according to which values and priorities are established in an ethical system") Our lives must be characterized by genuine love for God and for others at home, at work, at church,...everywhere. We can try hard to keep all God's commands and still miss the spirit of the Bible and displease the Lord if we're doing it all without love. Without love, our spiritual gifts, theological knowledge & Biblical understanding, and good works mean nothing in God's eyes. Without agape love, whatever we speak, whatever we have, whatever we know, whatever we do, whatever we suffer, is absolutely ineffectual. Do everything in love! (1 Corinthians 16:14) 

Dear Heavenly Father, we’re forever grateful for Your extravagant love for us! Please fill our hearts with Your love and make it overflow from us to touch the lives of those we meet and draw them to You. Please help us to live a life of love out loud everyday and everywhere. In Jesus’s Name, I pray. Amen!

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