Valentine’s day seemed like a good time to review what love is and to offer a lesson for the Discovery Time Teachers to teach their students with. My search brought me to 2nd Corinthians 13, which is sometimes referred to as the love chapter. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become 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.
Wow! How could someone who possesses such wonderful gifts from our Creator not have the love within to use them? I wondered, do we not all just automatically have love? If God blesses a person with a gift of knowledge or prophecy to edify and equip others with, wouldn’t that mean that this person would also have the compassion to use it? According to theses verses, no, not always.
Further research on verses about love demonstrated that it points outward, and that we are continually told how to do it. Then maybe the natural instinct really isn’t to love, but rather to take. Then it makes sense, such extravagant gifts could very easily become showy and prideful and all about me, and all the attention I could get from using them, instead of thinking how I can use what I got to help others. Philippians 2:3 says, Do nothing out of selfish ambition. God gives gifts to bless us but also so that we can bless others, they are not meant to glorify ourselves. He is always wanting us to look up to Him the giver of love because, God is love, 1 John 4:8. To look at His example of how to live our lives, to help others just like Jesus did, not to draw attention to me, but to Him.
Love is all about giving not about taking, it’s about what I can do for you not about what I can get from you, and maybe if we are honest, getting a gift can be accepted in a very unloving way. For example, maybe I feel like I deserved it, and If that’s the case then the focus is once again turned inward instead of outward. In this way I am thinking about myself again, not showing appreciation and gratitude toward the giver, for the ability to help those around me and lacking the compassion toward them to begin with.
When we focus on our own needs and thoughts, we are blinded to the needs of the people around us, lacking empathy to the other person’s pain. Being the center of our own universe, it can be hard to tell if we are more focussed on our own feelings then the hurts of others. The song, “everything I do I do it for you” comes to mind with the Lord being you, can really get put to the test when no one notices or pats you on the back for the “good” things you do. Selfish ambitions will quickly surface, and you will know if there is truly love in your heart. Thankfully God explains how to change!
Confess my friend, as I have and continually do. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed James 5:16. Notice how healing comes from confessing to and praying for others. Ask, search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23 There is hope for the one who humbles himself and prays and turns his gaze upon Jesus. Then do what Colossians 3:12-13 says, put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other.
I want to do great and mighty things for God, but if I want God to get the glory and not just be making noise for all to see. I must continue to check my motives, examine my own heart before the Lord daily and ask Him to give me the grace to love Him with all my heart, soul and mind and others as myself. The kind of love Paul talks about in chapter 13 that is not self centered but about the other person. This is agape love. The exact kind of love that Jesus came to model for us through His life, death and resurrection. John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. God is the giver of so many wonderful gifts! But, the best and greatest of these is love.
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. . .And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 8,13
Be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” Ephesians 4:32
Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Romans 12:10