1 Corinthians 12: 31 - 13: 13
Brothers and sisters:
Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts. And now I will show you the way which surpasses all others. For even if I can speak in all the tongues of earth-- and those of the angels too--but do not have love, I am just a noisy gong, a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy such that I can comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge, or if I have faith great enough so as to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, to feed those poorerthan I, and then hand over my body to be burned, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. Love is not jealous, it does not boast, and it does not put on airs. Love is never rude or self-seeking; it does not seek its own interests, it is not prone to anger, nor does it brood over injuries. Love does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices in the truth. There is no limit to love's forbearance, to its trust, its hope and its power to endure.Love never fails.Prophecies will cease; tongues will be silent; knowledge will pass away.
For we know partially and we prophesy partially, but when the Perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, and reason as a child; but when I became an adult, I put childish ways aside. At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then we shall see face to face. Now I know partially; but then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. There are in the end, three things that last: Faith, Hope and Love, but the greatest of these is LOVE.
Paul gives an exhaustive definition of agape love here and does so with an incredible eloquence that shows that Christ's love is far more than just talk, it is action. Paul does not give us some long and dull definition of love but rather He gives us a formula for victorious living. As this comes together for Paul he seems to be asking an unstated question: How should a Christian behave?
1. Love is patient The word that Paul uses here refers to the way we deal with people. Paul says that we are to suffer a long time with other people. No matter what the evil or injury committed against us. No matter how others have neglected or ignored us.
2. Love is kind The word king means to show favor to others and move beyond hurt and injury. Paul shows that love is strength of grace that allows us to grant forgiveness.
3. Love does not envy This is not having feelings against others because of what they have - spiritual gifts, position, abilities, possessions or anything else. Love is not begrudging but rather shares in the joys of others.
4. Love does not boast Paul says that love does not brag or seek recognition. The behavior of love seeks to give, to recognize others, to honor others and applaud when others succeed.
5. Love is not proud The word here for proud means to be puffed up or conceited. The behavior of love does not look at oneself as being better than others. Love is humble and seeks the best.
6. Love is not rude Love does not act in a way that is disgraceful or brings shame to the name of Jesus. Love treats people with respect.
7. Love is not self seeking The Greek word that Paul uses here literally means to worship oneself. This is exactly the problem of modern society because we have become so full of ourselves. The simple reality seeks to serve others, not to be served by others.
8. Love is not easily angered Paul uses the word that means quick tempered or being ready to take personal offense. Love does not allow the emotions to control and it does not become angry without cause.
9. Love keeps no record of wrong This means that we cannot think evil of others and continuously focus on the wrongs that we have suffered because this will lead to resentment and bitterness. Love endures evil and keeps its focus on the truth.
10. Love does not delight in evil Paul says here that love does not take pleasure in doing what is unrighteous. In other words, if we have the love of Christ within us, the ability to do what is wrong still exists but we will make ourselves miserable doing so.
11. Love rejoices with the Truth Love rejoices when the truth is finally discovered and when it is victorious. The reality is that we can rejoice in all situations because when the truth of God is within us we always have victory.
12. Love always protects Paul is saying that love has the power to cover every area of life and to give the needed strength to support every area of life. Love gives us the supernatural strength to stand and cover the faults of others.
13. Love always trusts The word Paul uses here means to have a perfect trust. Love gives us an ability to have a divine trust that helps us to see God's work in our lives. It also gives us the ability to see the best in others.
14. Love always hopes Paul says that love literally never loses hope and has every expectation of finding triumph. Love refuses to accept failure and has bright hope for the best.
15. Love always perseveres Paul uses a military word here that means to withstand an attack. This means that the love of Christ is our strength and acts as our fortress during attack. Love endures every assault that comes against it and stands firm until the victory is won. The love of God gives us the ability to love even in the most difficult of circumstances.
16. Love never fails Paul closes his definition of love with a bold statement that love never fails. In other words, the love of Christ is always successful. The power of our lives is found in the reality that Christ's love gives us the ability to succeed. In essence, love describes the very character of Jesus Himself and if we want to become more like Him we must allow His love to penetrate the deepest corners of our hearts. We must be willing and open for the overflow to come and fill us with Christ's love.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37-38
Notice all of those things that do not have the ability to keep the love of Christ from our lives.
• The love of Christ is more powerful than life itself, death cannot even keep it from us.
• The love of Christ is more powerful than spiritual beings, even the most diabolic plot from Hell cannot keep it from us.
• The love of Christ is more powerful than time itself, even when time comes to an end the love of Christ will remain
• The love of Christ is more powerful than mortal strength, even the greatest power on earth cannot keep it from us.
• The love of Christ is more powerful than any distance, even the deepest of depths or the highest of heights cannot keep it from us.
• The love of Christ is more powerful than all of creation, absolutely nothing in all of the universe can keep it from us.
This list looks all inclusive and seems to have covered all of the bases. However, there is one thing that can keep you from the love of God that is found only in Christ Jesus; you. You are the only thing standing between the overflow of love that falls from Heaven and your need. You are the person that keeps you from experiencing the overflow and it's awesome power. You are the only one that can accept the filling of the overflow.
Are you living in the overflow of Christ's love? The choice is yours and you can live in the overflow of His divine love.
St. Valentine Faith Community
Mass: 10AM Every Sunday
2670 Chandler Avenue
Suite 7 & 8
Las Vegas, NV 89120
702-523-8963 Rev Sue Provost, Pastor
"This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. " (1 John 4:9-10)