Presence Devotion #10
1 Corinthians 13:1-8 (NIV)
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
For many years I merely hoped that God loved me. The mysteries of the crucifixion bewildered me, and my heart was easily fooled. I had a sense of God, and a general idea that I should seek Him out, in a fairly aimless, half-hearted muddle of doubt and desire. During that time, I would only come across this passage in the context of weddings, and as I listened to those words, I would look inward and condemn myself for the lack of ‘true love’ found there. A mistaken heart and ungodly imagination will immediately turn to shame, disbelief and a lack of hope that a broken heart could ever really be transformed. Slowly and patiently, and with time in the Word, God helped me read this scripture in the way it was really intended. I started to connect it with the ideas expressed in 1 John 3 that states ‘God is love.’ If God is love, then this scripture actually speaks of how much He loves us. When you can accept this love and that switch occurs, then the heart becomes full enough to give love too. It really is impossible to be Christ-like without first filling yourself with Christ. He loves YOU patiently, kindly, steadfastly; enough to sacrifice His Son. It doesn’t matter what other areas you strive to succeed in, how spiritual you can seem; without this revelation of His love it all becomes meaningless.
This revelation of His ultimate love is the foundation of many people’s faith, yet there are many like me who can carry on without it ever really being ‘rooted and established’ and the spiritual fruit withers because of it. This foundation can also be stolen from us, as a faith develops in a broken world, and needs to be redeemed. However, we are promised that this love never fails.
This love is received by faith, and faith comes by hearing the word of God. His word is a love story that seeks to empower, correct and direct us. Imagine if you’d received and embossed invitation saying Jesus was going to visit you tomorrow, that He was going to give you something more valuable than anything you currently own. Would you get up a little earlier? Would you be expectant? We can sometimes sit and wait for God to impact us, speak through someone else, or change our circumstances. His transforming, healing and loving power is available to your right now. You need to find time; a gift He gave you in the first place.
Lord, let a reverence for your word come alive in me, my family and my church. Let our faith grow as we stand on your promises, and keep them in our hearts. Let us trust more in your word, than our circumstances, our old beliefs and worldly ‘wisdom’. Let us know your voice so we can accurately discern your truth. Let us be filled by you, so we can be more like you. Let us ‘know’ how wide, how deep, how long your love for us is.
Further reading: 1 John 3 and 4
- What does a life, fully accepting the love God has lavished on you look like?
- Do any of these scriptures challenge any ‘old ways’ of thinking?
- What needs to become more ‘real’ for you? Is there a scripture from this passage that you can start to claim? Write that down, and learn it by heart; it will be a defence for you.