Tuesday, November 23, 2010

11/23/10 - Love One Another

1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13

31 Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts. But I shall show you a still more excellent way.

1 If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal

2 And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing.

3 If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, (love) is not pompous, it is not inflated,

5 it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury,

6 it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.

7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never fails. If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing.

9 For we know partially and we prophesy partially,

10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.

11 When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things.

12 At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.

13 So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Yesterday's message talked about obeying Christ as King, which boils down to two basic things - love God above all, and love one another. This passage tells us what "love one another" looks like.

Paul was a mystic. He'd heard angelic tongues with his own ears. He comprehended divine mysteries and knowledge as well as anyone ever has. He had faith so strong as to move mountains. He's got first-hand experience experience with spiritual gifts. And he says none of those spiritual gifts that people have longed for and aspired to over the ages are worth anything without love. Love is even greater than faith and hope!

Just stop and let that sink in, because it's powerful. He's saying it with certainty. This isn't something that he only knows from reading or even from praying. He knows from experience. He calls it "the more excellent way," which means that he's tried LESS excellent ways and knows how they work out.

Then he goes on to describe what love is. If you want to focus on what Christ meant when he said "love one another" at the Last Supper, verses 4-8 are golden. They are the a great measuring stick to use throughout your life. When you examine your conscience, try asking yourself these questions.

Am I patient? Am I kind? Do I think highly of myself? Have I been rude? Do I seek out my own interests before those of others? Am I quick-tempered? When I've been "wronged", do I dwell on it?

What happens if I'm not? Nobody is perfect, but God gives us what we need to transform over time. If you look at yourself and find that you want to improve, the best thing to do is ASK GOD FOR HELP! If you come to him with a willing heart, and ask Him to help you grow, he will.