LOVE NEVER FAILS
Suggested Reading: 1 Corinthians 12-13
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Key Verse: 1 Corinthians 12:31
But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.
The “MORE EXCELLENT WAY” is LOVE! From 13:1 to 14:1 “LOVE” is found 10 times. It is appropriate that both chapters, 12 & 13, are included in today’s reading, for they are usually read in exclusion one from the other and sadly also in opposition one from the other. We should make sure that we do not stress the gifts of chapter 12 while failing to emphasize the love of chapter 13, or stressing the love of chapter 13 and ignoring the gifts of chapter 12. God has given the gifts of the Spirit to His people, and He expects them to be used to build His Church. Paul points out that God desires that the gifts be exercised in an environment of love, the love that is also only possible through the work of the Holy Spirit. A gift is not an indication of spiritual maturity, but love, a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), is an indication of the growth in Christ of the believer. We give gifts to our children, not because of their conduct, but because we love them. If we based our gifts on good behaviour, our children would have to earn them and they would not be gifts. The Corinthians did not exhibit the best behaviour, but God still gave them gifts. Let us “desire spiritual gifts” (14:1), and use these gifts in “A MORE EXCELLENT WAY,” exhibiting the LOVE described in chapter 13!
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Lord Jesus, I recognize that Your character is described in chapter 13. Live and love through me, Lord Jesus, I pray. Thank You for the gifts You give to build up Your Church, to exhort me to seek the good of others, and to comfort others. I gladly receive and desire to exercise all these gifts. In Your Name, Amen!
100 PERSONAL WORDS:
Before I became an ordained minister, I taught public school. I was so impressed with 1 Corinthians 13 that I required my students to memorize all 13 verses. I had read that many scholars considered these words to be the most beautiful in the entire English language. Of course the thoughts were written originally in Greek and translated by those assigned the task by King James during the first years of the 1600’s. I see chapters 12 to 14 as a sandwich in which 13 is the meat and 12 & 14 are two slices of bread above and below the meat. To be well-nourished spiritually, we need to eat the whole sandwich. As a child, during our meal, I remember leaving the table, riding my little scooter into the living room and depositing my crusts behind the couch. That practise ended abruptly when the remnants of the bread were discovered. I must confess that I went through a period in my Christian life when I did not want to partake of what may have seemed like the bread crusts of the gifts of the Spirit, particularly the speaking gifts of tongues and interpretation of tongues. One of my theological professors gave the interpretation to a message in tongues, and the thoughts that came to me were the same as his words. After the church service concluded, the teacher, Rev. Gordon Atter, came to me and told me off. He said, “David, God gave you that interpretation and you disobeyed God in not giving it. Because you failed, I had to give it for the proper exercise of the gifts in a public meeting.” As far as I know, I’ve not made that mistake since.
Yours for striving to be always in tune with His Spirit,