We are on the third of six posts as we continue to digest 1 Corinthians 13. There is so much in this chapter that we will only grace the surface of, but hopefully we will dig enough to entice you to read it with fresh eyes and help you go deeper on your own.
“If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but did not love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I did not love others, I would have gained nothing.”
// 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NLT
The first three verses of chapter 13 speak plainly of the emptiness of life and acts without love. Without love, the most charitable acts are fruitless. Prophetic words devalued. Faith without purpose. Sacrifice lay hollow.
Take time to rewrite these verses to fit your story. Use examples from your life connected to the subject in the verse. I have done so myself as an example, and so I could see where I need to be schooled.
- [Verse 1 – Speak languages of men & angels/skills] If I build my ministry, write profound prose and share God’s Word
- [Verse 2 – Gift of prophecy/ Spiritual Gift] If I use my gift of pastoral care & encouragement
- [Verse 2 – Faith] If I believe God is God the Father and All-Powerful, that Jesus died for me to find freedom and the Spirit is within me
- [Verse 3 – Give to the poor/Charitable acts] If I volunteer at church, send cards and give donations
- [Verse 3 – Sacrifice my life] If I were to give up my livelihood, move to a third world country and serve the poor…
All of these are good – acts of giving, using the gifts God has given, sacrificing my comfort and belongings…
YET, where there is no love, all is meaningless… all is hollow.
“Agape is a sacrificial love that voluntarily suffers inconvenience, discomfort, and even death for the benefit of another without expecting anything in return. We are called to agape love through Christ’s example:
‘Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God’ (Ephesians 5:1-2).” 3
As you look at what you wrote representing your story, can you see where you need to allow agape love to intervene and to lead? I know for me, I need to allow love to lead me in acts of service, rather then checking it off my “should do” list.
If love is not what is leading you, then what is? Let not your life be hollow.
Helpful sites for further study //