Of all of the gifts we have, love is the greatest.
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner it is more important than ever to understand the context of faith, hope, and love. I have spent the better half of this past year working through my own inconsistencies. It is strange to think how easily persuaded we become when our lives become entangled in new rules new restrictions new ways of doing things only to find ourselves gong back to old habits.
Our complacency sets in and although we still flash a smile or say a kind word we still feel a little empty. It is not to say we don’t try to emulate the appearance of happiness but it feels like there is still an emptiness we cannot explain. It then spills over into how we interact with others.
My hope in writing this today is not to make you feel like there isn’t a way out of feeling the way you do or to believe you cannot change. My hope lies in opening your eyes as I reflect on my own experiences to what is possible if we would only lean in to the promise of God’s love.
I woke up this morning not knowing what I was going to write today. I opened up my laptop staring at a blank page and said, “God, what do you want me to write about?” 1 Corinthians 13 started running through my mind. I thought this to be a bit strange at first but as I began reading it my mind shifted and it all became clear.
You can do all the right things, say all the right things, use your gifts, and go on about your business everyday but if what you are doing isn’t rooted and grounded in love it will amount to nothing. It reminds me of Ecclesiasties when Solomon writes about how meaningless life is without God.
There are so many examples of God’s love and compassion throughout the Bible. If we turn to the Book of John he says God is Love (John 4:7-21). The most important takeaway I had from John is we are blessed in knowing We love because He first loved us and perfect love casts out all fear. There is no fear in love.
1 Corinthians 13
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
I could go on and on attempting to define the importance of love. I will leave you with this:
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.’ 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
The most important thing you can do is be an expression of love to others. It is the single most vital part of interacting with others. Love isn’t always easy. It is also never black and white. The one thing about love we can all take away is it is worth it every single time.