If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 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 have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3
If you don’t really love the other person, it doesn’t matter that you go all out for Valentine’s Day next week. You can find the sweetest thing to say and you can be very impressive with the presents that you give and the outing that you plan, but it doesn’t mean anything without love.
You can appear very spiritual and be genuinely good at understanding and speaking spiritual truths, but without love for people, you are missing the point.
God demonstrates his love for us in this, that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. He took the punishment for our sins and grants us forgiveness through faith in him. That love inspires us both to love him and to love others.
Without the genuine love of God in our lives, we can try all that we want to impress people with our speech or our intelligence or our faith, but we will be missing the point. God gives us all of his gifts so that we can show his love to one another.
God is love. He is patient and kind; he keeps no record of wrongs. He does not delight in evil, but rejoices in the truth. He always protects and always perseveres. God never fails.
When we fail in our attempts to love one another, God calls us to repentance. He comes to us in his perfect love and forgives all of our sins. Because of his love, we are not resounding gongs or clanging cymbals. Our words of love have power, and we gain everything in Christ.
Lord, lead me to love as you have loved me. Amen.
The focus of devotions on Thursdays and Fridays in February is Truth for Today.