Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Most Excellent Way

1 Corinthians 13

"And now I will show you the most excellent way. If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not 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 have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, 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, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 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 childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor 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.

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

It is our tradition to read this every Valentine's Day. I pray that when my "superheros" grow up to be men someday that they will know what love is. I pray that they will understand that love is an activity and a behavior, not just an inner feeling or motivation. I pray that as men of God the will know that the Lord exalts Christlike character more than ministry, faith or the possession of spiritual gifts. God values and emphasizes character that acts in love, patience, kindness, unselfishness, hatred for evil and love for the truth, honesty and endurance in righteousness much more than faith to move mountains or to perform great achievements in the church. Please don't misunderstand, I want my children to do great and wonderful things for the kingdom of God and I want them to have faith to believe God and not just believe in Him. However, I do believe that what Paul is saying in this chapter is that God's love poured out within the believer's heart through the Holy Spirit is always greater than faith, hope or anything else. It is the most excellent way.

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