But the Greatest of These is Love

1 Corinthians 13:1, AMP
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love [for others growing out of God’s love for me], then I have become only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal [just an annoying distraction].”

Every year, on my birthday, I ask the Lord for a special verse to take with me into the new year. This time, He gave 1 Corinthians 13. For many of us this is such a familiar chapter in the Bible, and we sometimes tend to skip it, or we think we know it already.

I took the time to read this special chapter in different versions of the Bible – trying to make each verse relevant to my life and asking myself: “Am I actually living this Word of God to the world around me?”. In verse 1 and 2 in the Amplified version, love for others (and that means all people) is described as growing out of God’s love for me, and reaching out to others. It’s not the same feeling I have towards my loved ones, but a God-inspired love and understanding for people. It’s a mindset of asking God to help us see the unlovable as He sees them. It’s His heart to see beyond the hurt they cause by asking the Lord where they’re coming from. What hurt and pain are they carrying?

Verse 4 and 5 refers to our reactions and attitudes: patience, kindness and being thoughtful. Love is not envious, jealous, not rude or self-seeking, not over sensitive and easily angered. Love does not take into account a wrong we endured. The list goes on.

When I stop to ask myself if this is me, I can only bow my head and humble myself before the Lord, because I fall short in so many ways. How can I ever ‘get this right’? But then the Lord comes with love and gentleness and reminds me that this whole chapter is Him. It’s His heart towards me and every other person He created.

If I allow the Lord’s love to sink into every part of my being, I become more and more rooted in Him, and more and more rooted in who I am in Him. It’s about being positioned in the Lord, and knowing where my worth and security comes from. When I look at life and people from this place of safety, I begin to understand that 1 Corinthians 13 is not about me falling short. It’s about Him living in me and through me.

‘May He grant you out of the riches of His glory, to be strengthened and spiritually energized with power through His Spirit in your inner self, [indwelling your innermost being and personality], so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through your faith. And may you, having been [deeply] rooted and [securely] grounded in love (Ephesians 3:16-17). I can only live God’s love when I have accepted it as my own. Then I can read 1 Corinthians 13 by focussing on Him, and allowing Him to show me how to love as He does.

Prayer: Dear Father, thank You for this beautiful truth in Your Word, and for showing me more of Your character. Lord, I ask You today to reveal more and more of Yourself to me and to fill every fibre of my being – my body, soul and spirit. My desire is to be securely rooted in You, and to show others who You are; to bear up under all things, to believe the best of others and to have hope that never gives up. Amen.

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