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Love is Something You Do

Weekly Devotionals

Love is Something You Do

1 Corinthians 13:1-13

13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

These words from Paul are familiar to both believers of the Christian faith and those outside.
Attend some weddings and these lyrics on love are likely to be heard reverberating through church and wedding halls alike. It is precisely because of its familiarity that we risk losing the power of Paul’s words in the chasm of conventional belief. Couple that temptation to conventionalism with our culture’s penchant towards romantic love and we will find a dangerous cocktail of snobbery and shallowness.

To capture the weight of Paul’s words it’s important to understand the context of what inspired him to provide this meditation on love in the first place. First, this treatise on love serves to reform the Corinthian church’s understanding of spiritual manifestations during worship. Secondly, Paul’s meditation on love falls under the wider theme that any definition of love must be governed and
formed by the love of God shown in the death of Jesus Christ. Finally, the purpose of this chapter is to provide readers a road map of what ethical living looks like. Love is something you do rather than only meditate on and love needs to move from theory to concrete action in the world, lest we fall prey to the same “puffed up” knowledge that infected the minds of the Corinthian church (1 Cor. 8:1). The real antidote for the divisions in the Corinthian church and the only guiding principle that can promote social unity
is love in action. May we dispel any sentimental notions of love and move towards a love that never fails and a love that is rooted in true wisdom, namely the crucified Christ. Amen.