What is 1 Corinthians 13 really saying?!
1 Corinthians 13 is the most commonly known verse about love, and is the most popular verse chosen at wedding ceremonies. And though the Church as a whole as seen this love chapter through the lens of marriage, it wasn't written with that being the only regard. Paul originally wrote them to address a specific situation which many of us today miss. Paul was addressing the appropriate use of spiritual gifts to a body of believers that was divided on many issues. Above all, love was what Paul was compelling the Church to do. It wasn't only something married couples were called to, but we as a Church whole are called to walk....above everything.
Here are some of Peterson's (author of The MESSAGE translation) thoughts and my own together. Its piercing to read this in context, and absolutely life changing to read it as one who is called to walk in love (equivalent to walking by the Spirit).
If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power and authority, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain and simple, and if I have faith that moves mountains, but have not love I am of no value. (Not your worth value, but what you so has no value.) If I give everything I own to the poor and die as a martyr, but I die without loving, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up. It will not fail you ever! It supersedes all things, in every situation, in every circumstance.Love cares more for others than for self. It chooses to be selfless even when you feel taken advantage of.Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut; its not out to prove something. It is not competitive, but allows others to rise above themselves.Doesn’t have a swelled head and is not arrogant or haughty. It doesn't pretend to always have all the answers.Doesn’t force itself on others, it is sincere, considerate, and slow to accuse.Love isn’t always “me first,”and it doesn’t fly off the handle. Love learns self-control and knows when to ask for forgiveness. Love doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, or measure one's sin to another.Love doesn’t revel when others grovel, or say "I told you so" in someone's mistake. It doesn't condemn, but brings life.Love takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, and makes it ok to make mistakes, learn and then grow.Love puts up with anything, even when you may be hurting. It pursues even when you feel betrayed.Love doesn't put trust in man, but trusts God always,Always looking for the best,Never looking back,But continues to go to the end. Love is the eternal treasure that cannot be taken from you and continues to grow into all eternity.
Love never dies. Self-help and motivational speeches will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes (the unknown) will be canceled. And what will be left is love.
And isn't this what Christ did for us? When you examine the life of Jesus, He fulfilled all these things! He was the beautiful example of Love. If we need someone to lead by example, He is it! And its because of His grace that we can love the way He did. And He still loves this way, but now its through us. Let's be compelled to love today.