WEEK 4 – THE POWER TO LOVE OTHERS
1 CORINTHIANS 12:31b-13:13
31 ... And I will show you a still more excellent way. 1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 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. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
THE PREEMINENCE OF LOVE
We may have heard this Scripture read at weddings – and it is very appropriate for married couples. However, it is important to remember that these words were not originally intended to go along with rose petals and romance, but to help a bunch of very different people from all sorts of backgrounds, cultures and classes form a unified Christian community.
Without love, the most noble-seeming religious behavior is in vain. Even spiritual gifts can become a source of pride, instead of a means of honoring God and blessing others. Loving others well does not happen overnight. It requires character formation, which comes as we choose to put others before ourselves and crucify our selfish inclinations - especially when we don’t feel like it.
What is one example of a time you’ve experienced love from another believer in a way that impacted you?
Is there an area of your life — in your home, at work, at church, or elsewhere — where love isn’t your main motivation, but you want it to be?
Where do you see God working to develop love in your life? What will you do with this?