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. 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. 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. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13:1-8
Everything in love
Who is the most accomplished person you know personally? A classmate with a 4.0 and tons of scholarships coming? The all-conference captain of the team? The soulful singer who steals the stage and the show? The neighbor who seems to have endless friends and perfect relationships?
The words that open 1 Corinthians 13 are fascinating. And they open our eyes to a completely different way of thinking. You might have the greatest gifts and abilities (which these devotions have talked about a lot this month), but unless you act in love you do nothing, you gain nothing, and you are nothing. Without love, then, the greatest action or deed is meaningless.
It all comes down to love. So, what better thing can there be than a checklist of what love looks like, right? However, reading through the description of love in verses 4-8 of this great “love chapter of the Bible” is like reading your own personal list of epic fails. Patient? Nope! Not proud? I wish! No record of wrongs? Fat chance! For me, it seems like love always fails.
But this is where our attention needs to shift focus to true love, to the one who embodies love and even is love—God. “God is love,” the Bible says, and it also tells us how “God so loved the world,” and how “God demonstrated his love for us.” We need look no further than Jesus. There we see perfect love that never has, never did, and never will fail. In Jesus we see love that was perfectly patient, kind, compassionate, forgiving, and every other descriptor you could add.
That perfect love of Jesus is your love. Why? Because he is your substitute and his perfect righteousness now belongs to you. And, he is also your Savior who blots out and erases your every failure. Now that is perfect love!
That love of Jesus is what wraps us in a warm and snuggly embrace. That love of Jesus is what fills our hearts with joy to the point that eventually it spills out as we love and serve others. That love of Jesus is what never fails to be good or the right thing to do. Yes I may fail, but his love never does—either for me or through me.
So go on friend! Live your life. Pursue your goals. Chase your dreams. Do your daily work. But whatever you do, let the love of Jesus drive each thought, word, and deed.
Prayer: Jesus, so fill my heart with your love that I may live that love for you and others in all I do. Amen.