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Friday, March 15, 2013

Without Love

1 Corinthians 13 is often called The Love Chapter. Rightly so! This chapter is all about the need for love—good, right, perfect, godly love. It tells us how necessary it is to our Christian walk, what we are without it, and what exactly love is.

Let’s take the chapter apart, maybe in a new way.

First, let’s notice how many times the word “all” appears in the next group of verses.

If I . . .
            speak with tongues
            have the gift of prophecy
            understand all mysteries
            have all knowledge
            have all faith (the kind that moves mountains)
            give all my goods to feed the poor
            sacrifice my body to be burned

And have not love,

I am . . .
            as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal (noise)
            not profiting anything

We can be next to perfect—knowing all the mysteries, and having knowledge and faith, giving all of our goods, and even giving our body to be burned—and, if we don’t have love, we’re a big, fat zero in God’s eyes.

So, what is love?

When I read 1 Corinthians 13, I’m struck by the contrast of what God says are the characteristics of true love and the ideas we have in our heads. We women might have the idea that love is romance—flowers, chocolates, and sweet nothings whispered in our ears. But, true love, God’s love and the kind of love we’re to show to others is something totally different from hearts and flowers. It has substance. It endures. It’s good and kind and patient.

Let’s look at the Bible’s definition of love.

Love is:
            not envious
            not prideful
            not puffed up (literally: blown up)
            not misbehaving
            not selfish
            not easily angered
            doesn’t think evil
            doesn’t joy in sin, but joys in the truth
            forbears the faults of others
            waits for salvation
            endures all things
            never fails.

Let’s recap. Without love, we are nothing. With love, we have a permanent hope (surety) of salvation and a wonderful joy in our relationships here on earth.

Love is for everyone. It’s not just a boy and girl thing. True biblical love is a relationship with God and a pure relationship with others. Its characteristics are the ones above.

A month ago, my husband was preaching in 1 Thessalonians. It’s interesting that in 1 Thessalonians 1:3 and 5:8, as in 1 Corinthians 13:13, we find the three great fruits of the Spirit listed together—faith, hope, and love.

And now abideth faith, hope, charity (love), these three;
but the greatest of these is charity (love).
1 Corinthians 13:13

The next verse admonishes us, Follow after charity (1 Corinthians 14:1).

Go get it. Get the best thing there is: love.

For, without love, we are nothing.

Do we love God? Do we love others? It’s a good idea to review often the characteristics of true love.

For without God’s love, we aren’t anything.


  1. Si, estoy segura que Dios nos ama, lo se por las cosas que el Señor me muestra y hace por mi cada día. Esto es difícil de ver, yo tardé unos años y una vez que empiezas a verlo, la vida es mas fácil.
    Creo que es difícil amar a los demás como Dios quiere que lo hagamos, desde hace un tiempo a esta parte creo que lo estoy consiguiendo y por ello se que el Señor me ayuda a majorar en esto cada día.

    1. Thank you, Tere. God does love us! It's a blessing.

  2. I've had a post percolating this week about love and duty and how love isn't just a warm fuzzy feeling. I haven't had the time to hammer it out, but hopefully soon, Lord willing. I ask God sometimes -- and should ask more often -- for Him to fill me with His love because I sure don't have it in myself naturally.

    1. Love and romance have been so confused that people think the "feeling" is love. The feeling is emotion, and real, biblical love has nothing to do with emotion. It has everything to do with Truth and right actions and giving. You are absolutely right; this only comes from the Lord.

      I look forward to your post on it. Happy "hammering"!


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