Think: I Corinthians 12 and 13 are hallmark chapters in Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth. At this juncture, Paul reminds the church members not to become proud of their spiritual gifts or leadership appointments (apostle, prophet, teacher, etc.). He writes, “But now let me show you a way of life that is best for all. If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.” What is the way of life that Paul presents as more powerful than spiritual gifts and leadership appointments? Love. What is the way of life Paul describes as more life-changing than knowledge or mountain-moving faith? Love—a radical way of life!
Act: For the past 79 days, we have read through the books of Acts, Romans and I Corinthians. Today’s passage, in many ways, is an over-arching banner to everything we’ve read so far. Jesus, in the book of Acts, sent us His Holy Spirit so that we might become His powerful witnesses on earth. He commissions us to take the wonderful Gospel message to all ends of the earth, so that everyone might hear about His sacrificial love and be saved. Then He equips the church to be His body on earth by assigning each member a spiritual gift to use in order to help others. Paul explains, that if all the power and all the gifts God gives the church are not motivated by love, the result will be meaningless and worthless. Love must be the banner over Christ’s body, the church. Love must be more than words; it must be a way of life! Paul describes “love in action” as patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, never haughty, selfish or rude. Today, choose a “love in action” word from I Corinthian 13:4-7 and put it on a post-it note or index card. Ask yourself at the end of the day, “Did I demonstrate my love in this way more than once today?”
Pray: Dear Lord, I want to become a more loving leader, family member, co-worker, church member, and friend. Help me to read and even memorize Paul’s list of action words that describe love. Help me, this week, to put my love into action. And Jesus, thank you so much for first loving me. Amen.
Be full of faith today!