Hi there! Welcome to Hive Resources. I’ve been waiting for today for a long time! Today, I get to unveil my site’s recent makeover by the uber-lovely French Press Mornings. We’re still busy bees adding some finishing touches to the site, so stay tuned and pardon our dust!
Last week I challenged you to memorize 1 Cor. 13 along with me. I was excited to hear so many of you desire to press into 2014 by abiding in Him and His Word. Today, we’re talking about verses 1-3.
Have an Abide Group? Download 1 Cor. 13:1-3 Talking Points (including Background and Context).
With Valentine’s Day around the corner, it is easy to embrace 1 Cor. 13 as the pinnacle of romantic love. It is read at weddings and written into many Valentine’s cards as a passionate display of emotion between two people.
But romantic love was not on Paul’s mind when he sat down to write 1 Corinthians. It pained him to write this letter. His guts were in knots over the reports of doctrinal and moral failures that were coming out of the church of Corinth.
So, if Paul’s mind was far from love stories, what kind of love was he writing about in 1 Cor. 13?
The love God lavishes on his children. The love God poured out and into his church so they can pour it out to others. True agape love – God’s deep and abiding love for us (1 John 4:9) and the appropriate loving response to him (John 15:10).
The church at Corinth had failed miserably in this aspect. They had become a true and ugly reflection of the city around them – adopting their sins and selfishness.
Chapter 13 falls in a section of the letter dealing with orderly worship in the church (1 Cor. 11:2-14:40) – particularly how the church had misused their spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12:31b-13:13). Some in the church were using their gifts for personal gain instead of building up the entire body (1 Cor. 12:12-31). They had left out a crucial element in their service – love – and were causing dissension.
In the previous chapter, Paul reminded the church that it doesn’t matter what spiritual gift you possess, but the way you use it. Apparently, some in the church were making a big deal about certain types of gifts.
It’s easy to do.
Even today, we have a tendency to elevate those among us who are gifted communicators, speakers, and teachers. We become personality-driven instead of driven to the Person who gifts us for service.
We label leaders as “Super Christians” in much the same way Corinth began to label some in their church as “Super Apostles.”
But Paul says, the heart of service is just as important as the actual act of service. Why? Because if love does not inform our actions, then we become nothing but a “clanging symbol.”
Without the rest of the band, a clanging symbol is loud, ineffectual, and detrimental to growth. Not to mention really annoying.
It doesn’t matter if we are gifted communicators (vs. 1).
It doesn’t matter if we know the Bible backwards and forwards (vs. 2).
It doesn’t matter if we appear to perform spiritual feats (vs. 2).
If we accomplish those things without love as our primary motivator, we are still nothing to the One who is Love.
It doesn’t matter if we give away all our food and goods to the poor (vs. 3). It doesn’t matter if we deny our own needs, even giving ourselves up to be martyred (vs. 3).
All those things can be accomplished without agape love.
Good works aren’t enough – not enough to soothe guilty consciences, not enough to make up for past wrongs, not us to “get us to heaven,” or to make us right with a holy God.
How easy it is for me to forget God’s love when I’m serving in an area of church I don’t enjoy! How easy it is for me to forget God’s love when I’m holding down the home front and correcting my children!
Without love, my service doesn’t garner me any special standing. Without love, my spiritual gift becomes ineffectual.
His love is the motivator. His love is the equipper. His love is everything.
“If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” John 15:10
When do you find it is the easiest to forget God’s love? How do you remind yourself to replace God’s love as your heart’s primary motivator?
If you’re just now getting this little invitation, it’s not too late to join us! Simply print out a copy of these free Scripture cards and grab a friend.
I’m linking up with Faith-Filled Fridays!
 Mare, W. Harold, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 10 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1976), 267.