Paul’s statements about the importance of love in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 are quite remarkable.
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 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, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.”
In his book, Showing the Spirit, D. A. Carson gives the following paraphrase of this passage.
“You who think that because you speak in tongues you are spiritual, you who prove your large endowment from the Holy Spirit by exercising the gift of prophecy, you must understand that you have overlooked what is most important. By themselves, your spiritual gifts attest nothing spiritual about you. And you who prefer to attest your rich privilege in the Holy Spirit by works of philanthropy, you must learn that philanthropy apart from Christian love says nothing about your experience with God. You remain spiritually bankrupt, a spiritual nothing, if love does not characterize your exercise of whatever grace-gift God has assigned you.”
Even the world knows that “What the world needs now is love, sweet love.” It’s just that they don’t know where to find it. Sadly, many of us as Christians live as if we don’t know either. The lyrics in the song, Touch Your People Once Again, express this truth beautifully.
We need wisdom, we need power and true love for each other; We have had so many big but empty words. So we come before Your face asking for Your grace, Bring Your people to a state of kingdom life. Restore Your church again. Touch Your people once again with Your precious holy hand we pray. Let Your kingdom shine upon this earth through a living glorious church. Not for temporary deeds but to restored authority and power. Let a mighty rushing wind blow in. Touch Your people once again. Words by Pelle Karlson
We’ve had so many big but empty words. Yes, talk is cheap and even our best attempts to use our greatest gifts mean nothing without love. Agape love is God’s love and it is selfless. The only way we can have it is to receive it from Him. That’s why we must “come before His face and ask for His grace.” No one loves with God’s love by simply declaring, “I’m going to be loving today.” Rather it is when we declare, “I cannot love today without You Lord”, that we are enabled to love as He loves. It is in humbly seeking after God for the infusion of His love that we are able to love because “The love of God is poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit” (Romans 5:4).
We who have the hope of glory in the Christ who indwells us know where to find true love. Let us go to Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood and receive that love. His storehouse is infinite. When He pours His love into our hearts there is plenty left for the next moment, the next hour, the next day, a lifetime, and yes, for eternity.