1 Corinthians 13
1 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.
8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
I think many of you reading this will be familiar with it. In the NIV translation, the word charity is "love". Love is talked about VERY often in the bible. There are many verses about it. Why? Obviously it is important. Jesus himself told a man that the most important thing in life was to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. After that, the next most important thing was to love your neighbor as yourself. These were said to be the most important commandments to follow. What about all the other commandments? What about the ten commandments even? Well... Those two sentences, if followed COMPLETELY, cover everything else really. Love is THAT powerful.
Let's take a look at this passage some.
You could speak with the tongues of men and angels... you could have the gift of prophecy and understand all mystery, and have wisdom... You could give everything you have to the poor...
There's a lot of really good things you could do... but, if you don't have love, what good is any of it?
All those things mean nothing if they're not done in love.
Do you do good things for the sake of being good, or because you feel you need to? Or do you LOVE, and in loving, good deeds just happen?
And, what is love? well, just in case the KJV is a little complicated, I'll put the NIV translation for the next section...
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails.
That is not a long paragraph there, but it contains a LOT of stuff. If you just read right through it, I don't believe you can really fully appreciate all that love is. So I urge you to read through those verses carefully. Read each and every word, each description of love... read them by themselves. Stop at each one and think about it for a while. Love is patient. Are you patient? Don't go on to the next one yet. Stop there and think about it... REALLY think about it. Are you patient? I think at times, with one thing or another, we all have trouble being patient. Just remember, when you are not patient, you are not being loving. Now that's something to think about. Wait a second... I might lose my patience with a friend, or my child, or my spouse, or whomever, but that doesn't mean I don't love them. Well, this may be true but, when you are not being patient, you are not being loving. There's a different between having love for someone and showing love for someone. A bit difference.
Sometimes a parent gets a little tired of their child who just happens to be extra whiny today. The parent snaps and yells. The parent might not see it, but it hurts the child.
Anyway... you can see now how I picked apart that one word; patience. Now go through and look at all the other words in there. If you find yourself lacking in any of those areas, then you're not showing love as well as you could. Just remember what I said just a while ago... There's a difference between having love for someone and showing love for someone. You need BOTH.
There's a little more to that passage and I do urge you to read through the whole thing, but I'm going to leave it there for now. If you look around at other people you will clearly see that just about everyone you run into is lacking in some of those areas... Just think, if you're seeing a lack of love in other people, what do you think they're seeing in you? Focus on that. Always focus on yourself when it comes to doing what is right. And one good thing you can rely on... Love is contagious.
Father God I just thank you once again for the wisdom you have given to us through your written word. I thank you for how much you have spoken on the topic of love. I also thank you for the perfect example you gave unto us through your only son. May we learn to love like that. I pray for anyone who may read this passage(including myself) that they would study those words and really understand them. I pray that we might all be able to show that kind of love to one another.
A new subject or passage each week for all to discuss.
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