Day 5: The Character of Love
The Character of Love
1 Corinthians 13
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have 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 do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, 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 completeness comes, what is in part 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 the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a 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.
If you have ever been to a wedding, chances are you have read or heard this passage. The great ode of love, often seen as something merely poetic instead of life-altering and directive. It is easy to skim over because we’ve heard it before.
Yesterday we reflected on the idea that we all have gifts from God and can use them to love others, but today we need to consider the character of love. Paul starts this passage by explaining that even if our gifts are amazing, if they are not used in love then they are useless. Paul gives us this emphasis on love right in the midst of explaining the values of gifts and the different ways they work. Love is essential to our impact in the lives of those around us.
Read again through the middle paragraph. Is your love patient and kind? Do you envy or boast, or are you arrogant or rude? Are you always insistent on your way being the best way? Are you easily irritated or resentful? Do you rejoice at wrongdoing or truth? If love is to endure all things then it is really something we should want to overflow from our lives.
Mirrors in Paul’s day were made of polished metal, and therefore one’s reflection was even more dim. Paul explains that one day we will fully gaze upon the face of our saviour, and our gifts will no longer be necessary. What will remain at that day is love, so let us make love the utmost importance in our lives as we relate to God and to others.
Pick one of the descriptions of love’s character in this passage that you need to work on in your life and spend some time throughout the day reflecting on how you are doing in that area.
Prayer: Lord, you have blessed me in many ways and with different abilities. May I not see my blessings and abilities as merely something for myself, but as a means to love. I pray that you would reveal to me the areas in my life in which I need to grow in love. Amen.