1 Corinthians 12:31b English Standard Version (ESV) And I will show you a still more excellent way.
Picking up where we left of yesterday about the higher gifts, Paul now finished chapter 12 with this wonderful statement. “Let me show you a better way.” Then Paul leads us directly into what many refer to as the love chapter of the bible.
1 Corinthians 13:1 English Standard Version (ESV)
The Way of Love
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”
Paul begins this chapter with the issue of speech. The expression of love cannot be in word only. Empty words cannot show love. “Let me tell you.” No thanks, show me. What does love look like if it can only be expressed in word?
How about this blog? It is just words. How do these words show love? Because the topic is an introduction to the love of God. Those who have not known of it will hear words about His great love. Those who have received the Lord into their hearts may find encouragement and a glimpse into how others think and feel about the God we serve. Jesus said to go and make disciples of all nations. This blog is open to the world to find and discover God.
John 13:34-35 English Standard Version (ESV)
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
If I can share with even one lost soul the love of God I have fulfilled this commandment. If you are wondering which gift was used to perform His will, it is the gift of helps. Sharing the gospel is a helps gift. Even if we have not acquired any other gift yet, the gift of helps is alive and available to all of us in sharing the gospel.
Genesis 24:49 English Standard Version (ESV) Now then, if you are going to show steadfast love and faithfulness to my master, tell me; and if not, tell me, that I may turn to the right hand or to the left.”
Yesterday I brought up the issue of gifts. In a normal discipleship course the issue of gifts would be dealt with later in the program after dealing with important definitions and ordinances. Because we have been dealing primarily with the issues of love and relationship it is important to understand one of the characteristics of all types of love, from love of a friend to the love of God. That is the trait of reciprocal force.
Friends who have philia type love each find a balance of concerns, doing things they both like to do. If common ground cannot be establish those affections fade away. Friends drift apart when interest change and they lose that common interest.
Eros love is passion but if one only thinks selfishly and has no ability to give of self, the relation will end because it is not reciprocal. It is not uncommon for people who have passion for each other to drift apart because one of them is overtly selfish.
It is a natural trait of every type of love to share that love, no matter what type of love. I have thought that the message in John 14:15 could have stopped with “If you love me….” This would allow the hearer to do a self-examination to determine what they bring to the relationship.
We are told to love God and to love one another and if we cannot demonstrate in some tangible manner an expression of love beyond the verbal expletive, what does that say of us? So much emphasis is placed on gifts that each of us wants to identify our gifts in order to show God that we do in fact love.
1 Corinthians 12:31a English Standard Version (ESV) But earnestly desire the higher gifts.
Sometimes too much emphasis is placed on the desire to serve at the highest levels.