We spend our lives trying to gain certain things, and we are full of momentary joy when we get them. Our first car, our first job, our first home. Reputation, prestige, influence. The list is long.
But, is it possible to have all those things and not have the most important thing? Here’s what the apostle Paul said:
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing (1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NASB).
Without the love of God ruling and reigning and flowing through your life, you have missed the most important thing. All you are is nothing, all you have is nothing, and all you have from all you do amounts to nothing. Pretty sobering.
What Is Real Love?
The word used by Paul in this passage is not normal human affection. It is the divine quality that always responds in self-sacrifice. It is the highest description of who God is and is what He has planned for everyone He created to possess.
Without the supernatural experience that places God’s Spirit in us, we have none of this love.
Lest we confuse this love with something else, Paul holds up the love of God like a prism and turns it in the light to show us its multi-colored beauty (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). If he had not done this, we would think love is merely a sentimental feeling, a nice emotion.
Do You Have God’s Love? Does It Have You?
Walk thoughtfully through these sixteen questions based on Paul’s description of love and evaluate your life carefully.
- Am I patient? Am I willing to suffer a long time in order to love others?
- Am I kind? Do I always respond with kindness and seek for that which will be gracious to others?
- Am I jealous? Am I upset when others have something I want or think I should have received?
- Do I brag? Do I draw attention to myself to make sure everyone knows how good I am and what I have done?
- Am I arrogant? Am I filled with pride that makes me think more highly of myself than of others? Do I think my thoughts and actions are better?
- Am I rude? Do I act unbecomingly before others simply because I care more about myself than others’ comfort and well-being?
- Do I seek my own? My own way, my own thoughts, my own position, my own time, my own rights, my own comfort more than all these things for others?
- Am I easily provoked? Am I quickly roused to anger (because I am more concerned for my way and my rights than I am helping and loving others)?
- Am I unforgiving? When I am hurt, do I put it in a ledger book to remember and make sure my offender is hurt too? Do I seek retaliation, or am I willing to be hurt and respond in love so that others may see and feel the love of God, the love that forgives?
- Do I laugh at my enemies’ failures? Do I rejoice when they fail, or do I genuinely want the best for them?
- Do I bear all things? Am I willing to go the extra mile to keep loving, even when I see the faults and failings of others?
- Do I keep believing in someone, even when I see them at their worst? Do I want God’s best for them and believe that, with Christ, everything is always possible?
- Do I hope in all things? Do I have the confident assurance that comes from love?
- Am I willing to endure anything so that others may find and see and feel the love of Christ?
- Do I give up on people or on God? Does my supposed “love” fail with others, or do I keep loving with the love of God, which never fails?
The only possibility of living with this kind of love is to come into a relationship with Jesus Christ, by faith. When that happens, Christ comes to live in you, and you have all the love you will ever need, because God is love.
Daily, surrender control of your life to Him. Give Him your life as His instrument, and then instantly, aggressively respond to everything the love of God tells you.
As you let Him love through you, you will have gained the highest life and possessed the greatest thing of all.
Father, thank You for providing a way that I can know the love of God and that others can be touched by Your love through me. I gladly give You my body today to use as Your instrument. Shed abroad Your love in my heart by the Holy Spirit, and love through me today.