Scripture: “Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administration, and various kinds of tongues.
Are you all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But (however), earnestly desire the higher gifts, and I will show you a still more excellent way…
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have prophetic powers and understand all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
If I give away all that I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude…” 1 Cor 12:27 through 13:1-4.
Observation: I have noticed that 1 Cor 13 has been plucked out and treated like a separate doctrine or something out of context; a nice interlude but not related to the sex and gift abuses in the previous chapters.
Analysis: I had to get a little into Chapter 12 just to get a run up into 13 and try not to take the chapter out of context.
That is what I have noticed over the years: The Love Chapter (titled in my Bible that way) is treated like something separate. Tickles fancies, makes folks go “aww, that’s sweet.”
It doesn’t look like the way Paul meant it to be.
It appears that Paul has been addressing sin things (sexual immorality), conduct things (don’t tempt others to sin); pride things (don’t think you are something when you are not); spiritual gifts (they are not to make someone “special” and separate, but to serve the Body), and other stuff.
The better way, the more excellent way is love. Can’t agree more (pretty dumb if I did disagree with the inspired Word of God). Focusing on the conduct side of things (sin is still sin and needs to be dealt with appropriately), a careful reading of the Scriptures indicates that Love is not a replacement but is the motivation, the enhancement, the “oomph” in what is done.
Let’s say I am a preacher. If I present a solid, biblical, edifying message every week, all good right? If I am doing it to feed my ego and not the folks I am speaking to, not so good. Missing: Love.
This is the overlay needed to whatever is done in the Name. Love doesn’t replace functionalities; it drives the functionalities. Makes a difference to a guy like me who has a significant charismatic component in my life and theology.
Chapter 13 reminds me what the characteristics of Love are. I would not want to diminish that. However, I want to have it pounded into me that no matter what I do, if love is not driving what I am doing, I need to go to the Cross for some attitude adjustment.
Love governs my heart; my mind is governed by the Word of God. I cannot mix up the two.
Prayer: Woo boy. Lord God, I am driven to my knees once again. Help me keep your Word and your Love fully intertwined in execution, and fully separate in consideration. They are not equal but cannot exist without each other. They come together in You and I want to be like you. AMEN