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. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NKJV)
According to the verses above, it really doesn’t matter what I accomplish in this world. It doesn’t really matter what I possess. It doesn’t matter how smart I am from all the education I have received. And it doesn’t matter what I accomplish if I don’t have “love.”
In the twelfth chapter of the Book of 1 Corinthians we see Paul speaking about the Gifts of the Spirit where we can see the amazing things that God gives believers to empower them for serving others. Paul even tells us in verse 31 to “earnestly desire the best gifts.” He then follows this up with something pretty special, when he says, “And yet I show you a more excellent way.”
So what could be better than having the gifts of evangelism or being able to have the gift of healing? What is better than having the gift of teaching, preaching or even the gift of prophecy and speaking in tongues? We receive the answer to this question in the first three verses of 1 Corinthians 13 – it is the gift of Love. But not just any type of love—the Greek word used in this passage is actually agape.
Q: So what is agape Love?
Well, the word agape used here as well as other places in the New Testament speaks of the deep and abiding affection of God and Christ for each other and for us. And it is also used of us with regard to our relationship with each other as Christians. We see Jesus speaking of this in the Book of John.
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35 (NKJV)
Agape love is “others-centered” rather that “self-centered.” It is willing to do whatever is best for the one loved. The thing about agape love though is, we cannot produce it on our own no matter how much we try. Apart from God, we will always fall short in our own ability to love in this way. The only possible way we can have an agape love for another person is by allowing the Holy Spirit to empower us and to fill our hearts with it. It is very much the fruit of God’s Spirit within the life of the believer.
Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:5 (NKJV)
We are told to forgive others in the same way God has forgiven us (Eph. 4:31-32). We are told to show mercy to others in the same way God has shown it to us (cf. Matt. 18:31-33). And the only way we can do this is by His agape love flowing through us (cf. John 15:5). When we find ourselves struggling in our limited ability to love others, we must allow God to take over. When we do, amazing things will happen.
STUDY QUESTION: How can we know that we are Jesus’ disciples according to John 13:35?
PERSONAL INVENTORY: Have you found it difficult to love certain people because of their actions or annoying personalities?
PRACTICAL APPLICATION: Choose to be honest with God and ask Him to help you to love others the way He has loved you.
PRAYER: Father, help me today to love others in the same way You love me. Fill me afresh with Your Spirit today and pour Your love into my heart to transform me. Thank You for showing us true love by allowing Your Son to die for our sin. In Jesus’ name, amen…
Be Blessed, Pastor Scott