December 1, 2021
Scripture: When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 1 Corinthians 13:11 ESV
Observation: Having challenged the Corinthians to exercise their spiritual gifts for the benefit of the church as a whole, Paul then turns their attention to the greatest gift they can offer: godly Love. He first emphasizes that to exercise our spiritual talents without Love is nothing more than a cacophony of distracting noises. For even martyrdom without love is fruitless (verses 1-3). Paul then describes the attributes of sacrificial Love: patient, kind, humble, respectful, selfless, truthful, forbearing, faithful, and hopeful (verses 4-7).
He then turns our attention to the future when all creation will be made new. Paul contends that the only remaining aspect of our spiritual works will be godly Love (verse 8-10). Finally, Paul considers the effects of abiding, sacrificial Love: it matures us into men and women of God (verse 11, above) who will one day fully know what it means to love others as Christ loved us (verse 12). And when we are present with Jesus, there will be no need for faith or hope, but love is eternal (verse 13).
Takeaway: This is perhaps the most concise and complete summary of what it means to love our Creator and others by following his Great Commandment: love our God with all our hearts, souls, and minds, and love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:37-39). So does it seem overwhelming—the magnitude of loving God and others, as Paul describes? The good news is that the Holy Spirit will take us through life experiences that chisel away our immature, hardened wills into loving hearts that yearn to please our Lord and Savior. And that kind of love matures—for all eternity.
Prayer: Father God, thank you for your Son, who perfectly exhibited what it means to love you and our neighbors wholeheartedly. Would you please help us to cooperate with your Spirit and follow in your Son’s footsteps, that your love might mature us? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling