If I Have Not Love…

“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.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;  it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away… When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully… So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-8,11-13

“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35

Love is the distinguishing mark of a Christian. It shines brilliant and pure in a dark world, and calls attention to the One who is love, whether recognized as such or not. In these days of unrest, anger, and barricading sides with no crossing-over, love is at a premium. In a season of physical isolation and the misunderstandings, suspicions, fear, and loneliness that can ensue, love is a true balm that permeates all that is harsh. In a culture where people are easily affronted, offended, or publicly nurse wounds, love brings supernatural healing power. Into vocal vitriol, fury, and angst, love spoken and sung calms with its disarming, unexpected, sweet melody. (1 John 4:7,16)

But when we have not love in our hearts, our words, our exercised talents, our invested time, our wisdom, our every deed, are for naught. They count for nothing but noise, activity, or flamboyance, and add not a morsel of sweetness to the sour and bitter around us. They punctuate only dissonant decibels into the raucous clamor of the world, leaving unclear their motivation. It behooves us, as God’s children, to fuel every effort with the compelling love of Christ, and allow it to distinguish our contribution to our surroundings. (2 Corinthians 5:14)

Does our tone of voice cause others to cringe, or does it inject warmth, appreciation, and joy into conversation? Do our actions call attention to us, or exalt Jesus and spread His fragrance of life unto life? What difference has the love of Christ made in how we view ourselves and our purpose here? If we understand and receive it, love will flow through us in holy affection for Him and others. (Matthew 6:1-4; 2 Corinthians 2:14-16)

Lord Jesus, may You always be first and most to me. Keep me so enthralled with Your love that I cannot help but lavish it on others, so they recognize You.

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