One of the most challenging and often quoted sections of scripture in the Bible is 1 Corinthians 13, the chapter on love. It’s text that is commonly used at weddings to challenge young couples to love each other well. Unfortunately, on their own, it’s impossible.
The key to understanding this love Paul is describing to the church in Corinth is the context. Throughout chapters 12 and 14, Paul is describing spiritual gifts that benefit the body of Christ. In the last verse of chapter 12, after laying out how these gifts are to be used within the body of Christ, he writes, “But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And I show you a still more excellent way.”
So, love, in the context of Paul’s letter, is the way in which we exercise our spiritual gifts. And if it seems that the bar Paul lays out for us is too high, you’re not wrong. Like our spiritual gifts, it’s a supernatural enablement of the Holy Spirit.
Without God’s sanctifying activity in my life, I can’t be patient, kind, never jealous, never arrogant. Unless I submit daily to him, I’ll always be unbecoming, seek my own way, easily offended, hold grudges and rejoice when bad things happen to those who’ve offended me.
Only in Him can I know truth and rejoice in it, bear all things, believe all things, hope all things and endure all things.
Not only is this love a supernatural enablement, it is central to God’s character. In this chapter, “love” is from the Greek word “agape” (aγάπη). It is the highest form of love, one that is unconditional and selfsacrificing. We see how God loves us. He never fails. He is perfect in how He loves us. And He calls us to be the same – with His help.
It is our joy to show this love to our homeless, poor and marginalized neighbors as a means of introducing them to the One who loves them perfectly. Without your sacrifice of time, money and gifts, it’s a love they might never know. Thank you for partnering with us to do the most good – sharing the gospel to those who need to know love.
Major Robert Lyle