“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
I Corinthians 13:1-7 NKJV
What the world needs now
I sat last evening watching the half time show of the Super Bowl, and wondered how many of those people I know would hate it. I didn’t have to wait long. Oh the vitriol!
In my time as a Christian, I have rubbed shoulders with many men and women who were in one ministry or another. I also have myself, done many things in service to the Lord. One of the tragic things I have observed is the lack of love in the hearts of some who profess to be followers or Christ.
In so many cases, way too many, followers of Jesus have seen themselves swept under the spell of cultural politics, that creates division between people. Instead of looking at those who are different as people in need of a Savior, we look upon what they do and judge them. In the midst of the reviling, we forget that they are sinners, just as we were, and know not what they do.
Sinners are going to sin.
It seemed fitting that this being Valentine’s Day, that I would consider I Corinthians thirteen. It is a prerequisite of the types of things that the follower of Jesus exemplifies in life, as we go forth into the world. We who call upon the name of the Lord, are aliens on a planet that is not ours, and we are finding ourselves increasingly unwelcome.
In the face of it we are called to lovingly tell of salvation in Jesus, of His going to cross for our sins, and the justice that He has saved us from. Sadly, the message is often missed, as we inject our opposition into everything, and we are better known for what we are against, than what we are for.
When I consider the passage, I am reminded of the state of the church at Corinth, as it was in a world not unlike our own. The were surrounded by the worldly, and there was much stress upon the church to conform to the values around them. That stress with our, lead to division with in.
The love that Paul writes of is not a casual love, but an intentional one, requiring the power of the Holy Spirit. There is a connection between the characteristics of love, and the fruit of the Spirit, as the first is dependent upon the later.
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”
Galatians 5:19-23 NKJV
Brothers and sisters, may we be people who show the love of Christ in this fallen world. There are so many who are hurting, having stories we do not know about. What they do is the physical manifestation of emotion and spiritual damage that is hidden under the surface of their lives.
They need Jesus.
The world we live in is completely bereft of love, as people are in conflict everywhere, and deep divisions guarantee that there will be no peace. May we be people who go against the flow, choosing to love and be understanding when all that within our flesh is the desire to judge and deride.
Let us have the heart of Jesus, who walked amongst the sinners, making many saints, who then took the sins of the world upon Himself, becoming an abomination of desolation, so that we can come to Jesus. Oh what love!
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