Sunday, June 9, 2024

The Priority of Love (1 Corinthians 13)

"… though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing" (1 Cor. 13:2).

The most important fruit in the life of the Christian is that of abiding love—a love for God, a love for Christ, a love for one’s enemies, and a love for the church. Too often when one becomes a Christian, the emphasis is placed on his or her gifts. While these are important, they are not the priority. While they are valuable, they are not the most valuable. As Paul teaches so eloquently in 1 Corinthians 13, love is the more excellent way: “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become a sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”

As new creatures in Christ, we have been changed from children of wrath to children who love and adore their heavenly Father: “everyone who loves is born of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7). Love, therefore, is our motivation to obey Christ. We come into His presence to worship Him not because we are bound by ropes of legalism, but because we love our heavenly Father. When we are justified by the righteousness of Christ, we are no longer strangers and aliens, who hate God, but we are adopted into His loving family.

Because we are part of God’s family, love for one another is one of the greatest evidences of our salvation. If you do not like to be in the company of godly people, if you hate the idea of getting up and going to church on Sunday morning, then you cannot claim to be a Christian: “In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another” (1 John 3:10–11).

Those who are the true children of God will love their neighbors (Matt. 22:37–39), love God’s plan and design for them no matter what it is (Phil. 4:11; Eph. 6:6; 1 Peter 1:6–7; James 1:3–4), love one another, but most importantly love Christ in all His glory, His holiness, His justice, His mercy, and His power.

How does your life compare to the teaching on love in this passage? Do you love God? Do you love Christ as your Savior and King? Do you love the church and the children of God, despite their imperfections? Do you seek righteousness because you love God? Meditate on these passages today.