Friday, February 10, 2012

The Importance of Love

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 - "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.”

As we approach the Valentine's Day season, we cannot help but be bombarded with one message: LOVE.  For some, this day is dreaded (at one point I was one of those rebels, wearing black to show my denouncement of the holiday).  For others, it is the most anticipated day of the year because it is the one day their significant other must show their love in a tangible way. No matter how you celebrate February 14th, it is hard to ignore.

While I was thinking about this upcoming holiday, I began to think about 1 Corinthians 13.  Here, Paul tells the Corinthians about the importance of love.  He tells them that they could have and use the greatest spiritual gifts, but it would fall on deaf ears if they did so without love.  They could possess great faith in God, but it means nothing if they cannot love another person.  They could be willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for Christ, yet if they do not love, the sacrifice is worthless.

How many of you have ever tried to listen to someone give a spiritual talk when they had scorned you in some way?  Was their message engaging or did it sound like a broken record?

If someone knows the Word and is passionate about it, and has great faith, but does not care about others, how receptive will others be to the message?  Jesus was the ultimate lover.  He saw the "unlovable" and welcomed them.  He saw the "untouchable" and healed them.  It was His love that compelled people to listen. 

We as the Church need to examine how we are doing at loving others.  How are we loving those closest to us?  How are we loving those with whom we worship?  How are we loving strangers?  How are we loving our enemies?  So often we focus on our own spiritual lives and disciplines, that we forget that there is a hurting world around us who need Jesus.  We are his disciples and his ambassadors representing him on earth.  If we do not love, we give the wrong impression of him and every effort we make is in vain at best.

This Valentine's season, I want to challenge you to begin to pray that God will give you a heart for his people and will grow your love. 

They Shall Know We Are Christians by Our Love.

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