Journal 1 Cor 13 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
And 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 I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned…but have not love…I gain nothing.
Love is…” 1 Cor 13:1-4a
Observation: It is way easy to separate 1 Cor 13 from chapter 12 and 14. It even has a “name”: The Love Chapter. But if I take the chapter notations away and read this straight through, what do I see and comprehend?
Analysis: Writing about 1 Cor 12 through 14 brings a certain thought to my mind about Chapter 13: It appears that Chapter 13 is written to clarify operations of Spiritual Gifts and to expand what love in Christ expressed looks like—the use of the Gifts should be Love for the brotherhood/the local church expressed.
That is not to minimize the impact of is normally posted on wall art and greeting cards quoting from 1 Cor 13, but to expand why the Holy Spirit had Paul write what he did.
It is apparent that Corinth was a little bit undisciplined and excitable about Gifts (“Hey, look at what I can do…”) Yes, I am intentionally understating the situation in a tongue in cheek manner. Corinth, while an effervescent and exciting local church, has issues all over the place. I think they lack doctrinal and wise leadership, but that is just me. Note: I think that Paul exhibits taking a “long view” of growth and maturity at Corinth, not just assembling a “tiger team” of pastoral oversight to lock them down. God is patient.
From 1 Cor 12, Paul writes broadly about why Gifts are given: For the health and maturity of the local Body and to advance the Gospel. But Paul also is adamant about motivations.
Concerning Gifts, if the motivation is not based in Love, I am just noise.
Concerning Gifts, if the motivations are not grounded in humility, it is all about me.
Concerning Gifts, if the foundation isn’t the Word of God, then perhaps I am just flying off the emotional handle, wanting the sizzle and not the steak.
Concerning Gifts, if the vision isn’t the Gospel and in particular making disciples, then I might just be off the mark and shortsighted to what God wants to accomplish.
Concerning Gifts, is the pursuit of Gifts a pursuit of maturity in Christ?
I think that the Scriptures are clear.
Prayer: Lord God, I succumb to fear and avoidance of being an outspoken disciple of You. But that is not where I want to be. You saw where I spoke, not boldly, but candidly about my life with Jason and it impacted him, saying that I was an unashamed witness for you. What I remember is that I just talked about my life.
How does just being real in everyday conversations impact others? How does training myself to avoid worldly talk advance the Kingdom? It is unimaginable.
What would the pursuit of Your Gifts, what I call the Toolbox, impact the community I live in, and specifically the Local Church?
Is it time to get my hands dirty?
Ricky Two Shoes