1 Corinthians 13:1-7 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. (2) And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. (3) And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. (4) Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, (5) Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; (6) Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; (7) Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
1 Corinthians 13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
If you did not read part one, get it here now. In this post, we will cover the last two areas of our life that love needs to be greater than.
LOVE IS GREATER THAN OUR
WORKS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS – 13:3
We are commanded to help others when it is within our ability – and sometimes even giving and helping above our abilities. But when we do, it must be with a pure motive of love. If you help someone, only to hold it over their head the rest of their lives – than you really didn’t help them. If you help someone, only to look down on them as you do – then you really didn’t help them.
When we give to others, we cannot forget to give that which is most important – love. People need food, but that runs out. People need money, but that is spent and gone. But what people need the most is someone to love them without reservation, without hesitation, and without complications.
What a shame to give your life to be completely consumed for the Lord – but to hold back your heart! Many Christians serve God with their hands, their feet, and their head, but forget about their heart.
LOVE IS GREATER THAN
WHATEVER COMES OUR WAY – 13:4-7
Notice that this is one complete sentence. The key to love is in the first part of the sentence in vs. 4 – Charity suffereth long. This simply means that love is patient.
The prayer of a typical Christian – God, give me patience - and hurry up with it! Whatever comes your way, patiently wait on the Lord and Hew will renew your strength. When we are unwilling to wait on the Lord, it reveals a lack of love in our heart for our God and our Saviour.
Paul does not stop there in describing love. He also tells us that love is kind. It saddens me to see so much unkindness practiced by Christians today. Sarcasm can sometimes be a mask for an unkind and unloving Christian. When someone comes to church for the first time in a long time and we “jokingly” say something sarcastic about it. You’re not funny or friendly or fun-loving – YOU ARE MEAN-SPIRITED AND UNLOVING!
The remaining parts of the sentence could be summarized by this word – conceit. Conceited people are selfish, prideful, and misbehaven. If you are always looking out for “#1” – then you do not posses or practice love.
In summarizing the topic of love and our relationships, I am reminded of something written by J. Allen Peterson, in The Myth of the Greener Grass:
Newspaper columnist and minister George Crane tells of a wife who came into his office full of hatred toward her husband. “I do not only want to get rid of him; I want to get even. Before I divorce him, I want to hurt him as much as he has hurt me.”Dr. Crane suggested an ingenious plan. “Go home and act as if you really love your husband. Tell him how much he means to you. Praise him for every decent trait. Go out of your way to be as kind, considerate, and generous as possible. Spare no efforts to please him, to enjoy him. Make him believe you love him. After you’ve convinced him of your undying love and that you cannot live without him, then drop the bomb. Tell him that you’re getting a divorce. That will really hurt him.”With revenge in her eyes, she smiled and exclaimed, “Beautiful, beautiful. Will he ever be surprised!”
And she did it with enthusiasm. Acting “as if.” For two months she showed love, kindness, listening, giving, reinforcing, and sharing. When she didn’t return, Crane called. “Are you ready now to go through with the divorce?” “Divorce!” she exclaimed. “Never! I discovered I really do love him.” Her actions had changed her feelings. Motion resulted in emotion. The ability to love is established not so much by fervent promise as often as repeated deeds. (750 Engaging Illus., pg. 320-321)
The question today is this – how are you sustaining your relationships? Without love – you are not!