If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails .... But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:1-8A, 13
Our 1 Corinthians 13 passage above is often referred to as the "love" passage. It is very specifically talking about our love for other people. We would be hard pressed to find a better description of love anywhere. Can anyone possibly read this passage and say , "That's me; that's exactly the kind of love I have for other people?" It is very unlikely. Perhaps there are some who might come away from reading the passage and say, "I can do it; I'm going to be the best lover of people ever." Probably the best response to this passage is something like this: "I need to love other people like this; I want to love other people like this; I can't love other people like this; God can help me love other people like this."
Notice how the second half of the passage tells us all about what real love for other people looks like. The first half of the passage is a warning about not being ones who genuinely love other people. This is exactly what the story of the man and the king was doing as well. Jesus was warning us about not being lovers of people. Having compassion, showing mercy, extending grace, offering forgiveness, giving comfort, etc. are all ways of loving other people. It begins with our own experience with God and his compassion, mercy, grace, forgiveness, comfort, etc. and translates into our being lovers of people in these kind of ways. The lesson is this: it is an absolute contradiction and absurdity to claim to have a love relationship with God but not love other people. 1 John 4:8 says, "The one who does not love (other people) does not know God, for God is love." Recall the words of the king to the man, "Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?"
If we are honest, we admit we fall short of loving other people as we should. But setting out to try to love other people more fully is not the answer. The answer is taught again and again in Scripture and is an absolute truth: the more we truly grasp and genuinely experience the depths of God's love on a day by day basis, the more love will flow from us to others on a day to day basis. So, turning to the sanctuary of personal prayer and letting God show us how to commune with him is the means by which we will experience his love in the kind of way that will actually translate into our loving other people as described in 1 Corinthians 13.
Every once in awhile for our Saturday prayer response, you have been asked to think about how God has been working in your life throughout the week as you have interacted with the daily devotions so that you can write down your own prayer response to God. Your encouraged to do that today as we wrap up our week of seeking to go a little deeper with our response to the truth of God's Word.
Posted on Sat, May 9, 2015
by Alan Porter