The Greatest Is Love

1 Corinthians 13

This chapter weaves for us a very compact description of agape love.

  • Love lives for others.
  • Love’s focus is the good of and the good in others.
  • Love is free, wonderfully free, from the insistent tyranny of self.
  • Love is above all reproach and beneath no service.

“I have spoken in tongues.” The quiet statement was loaded with pride and reproach. “You are more a prophet than I.” The affirmation was ambiguous in its intent. “When he explains the Scriptures, they come alive!” The admiration for one was the contempt for another. “I prayed for her, and she immediately felt better!” The shocked and pleased exultation would later lend itself to personal exaltation.

We likely have all heard statements of this nature — perhaps even from our own lips. But without love, these things are no more significant that a child’s whimper in a howling hurricane. Some covet speaking in tongues or the gift of healing. Others desire a prophetic voice or an analytical mind. Yet others yearn to serve. But God seeks and uses those who would love as He loves. Because the greatest of these is charity.

Let us build our lives on these principles, priorities, and practices:

  • Love God with all you are and all you’ve got (Matthew 22:37).
  • Love others (Matthew 22:39).
  • Hang all you believe and all you do on these two loves (Matthew 22:40).
  • Be what love is (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).
  • Be mature in Christ (1 Corinthians 13:1-3,11,12).
  • Remember the supremacy of love (1 Corinthians 13:13; 1 Peter 4:8).
  • Choose the best, most excellent way (1 Corinthians 12:31).
What Is Love? Love is the capacity to live for the good of another.

At the end of 1 Corinthians 12, God announces the revelation of “a more excellent way.”

First Corinthians 13:3 speaks of deeds of helpfulness and self-sacrifice.

We value the doing. Even a child soon grasps the value of doing.

But when I became a man (verses 11 and 13), I started to learn to value the being as well.

1 Corinthians 13 calls us to a certain kind of being.

Love.

“Follow after charity” (1 Corinthians 14:1).

God is love. Let’s follow Him.

On these two commandments hang all (Matthew 22:40)

“Charity…is kind” (1 Corinthians 13:4).

What is kindness, anyway?

Compassion. Generosity. Consideration. Gentleness. Tenderness. Thoughtfulness.

God’s love is that way because God is that way.

And He wants my love to be that way because He wants me to be that way.

I’m not that way, until He lives His life through me.

Adapted from Is Kind

Additional Reading

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