Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:8
I don’t know about you, but when I read the love chapter (1 Corinthians 13) panic often sets in. The passage starts off easy enough; regardless of the gifts that have been given to us from the Lord, we need love as a buffer. Ok, got it! I need love for these gifts to work as God intended.
But as I read on I begin to realize that the kind of love the Lord requires of me is impossible for me to drum up. No matter how hard I try, I cannot do love this way; at least not with any consistency. Then I discover that this is exactly the point the Lord is making—it is impossible without Him.
Jesus presented it this way:
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me….With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.” (John 15:4 and Luke 10:27)
You cannot break a branch off a tree, bring it into you house, and expect it to bear fruit. That would be impossible. The limb must stay connected to its source. Our source is Christ Jesus; He is the vine and by faith we have committed ourselves to a heavenly pruning process. Jesus snipped us from the world and grafted us into the vine of life. We are now a conduit by which His love and blessings can flow.
It is All About Him
When we love on one another, it is not so others might say, “Wow, Bob sure is a loving guy.” It’s not that at all. As believers it is our hope that others will see God’s love and power displayed. The fact that it is happening through our bodies is irrelevant. Our love is proper when others see Jesus. If we’re noticed, it is our duty to direct the attention to our Savior.
When Love Looks Like Something Else
Love is always love, but it isn’t always pretty. Consider what this event must have looked like to many within the congregation:
Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears. (Acts 20:30-31)
Can you imagine the Apostle Paul going into a church and identifying one of their own as a wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing or calling out an un-repented sinner caught spreading deceit among the flock? Some would have surely proclaimed, “Yo Paulie, where’s the love bro?” Not much has changed in this regard.
The truth of the matter is that the person who is committed to loving this much is faithfully demonstrating his strong connection to the vine that is Christ Jesus. In today’s vernacular we might call this tough love and it’s akin to lovingly spanking a child — nobody wants to do it, but we know it’s the most loving thing we can do. People will surely protest the gesture, but the reality is that their objections are often our confirmations.
I suspect Paul would likely have said, “I love you too much to let you wallow in sin and I love the church too much to let them suffer an assault.”
Open rebuke is better Than love carefully concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. (Proverbs 27:5-6)
Having said all that, we must come full circle and be reminded that none of this is possible without Jesus Christ; the Holy Spirit must be the one Who guides us to these divine appointments and it is God Who empowers us to carry out the assignment. When we act in our own flesh the church ends up with signs that read, “God hates fags,” or similar epithets. That’s not a kind of love that will draw others to Jesus; that’s a kind of hate that repels sinners and keeps them on a path to hell.
For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Corinthians 5:14-17)
- What do these verses tell us about God?
- What do we learn about ourselves?
- Are there changes we can make?
- Changing Dippers For The Glory of God (withalliamgod.wordpress.com)
- Manhood – May 7 (soontopass.wordpress.com)
- Change Your Mind to Change Your Heart (compassiondave.wordpress.com)
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