Day 200 – The most excellent way

And I will show you a still more excellent way.

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. -1 Corinthians 12:31-13-3

Your spiritual giftedness is of serious value, Christian. God has blessed you with something of His divine use, and use it He will. He will mold you, prepare you and place you in a position to do what He needs. You are to be used.

If you teach, do so. If you preach, do so. If you encourage, do so. If you can heal, do so.

And as great as that is … as wonderful as it is, the Apostle Paul tells us something greater is afoot.

No spiritual gift is worth anything — no amount of knowledge, healings, encouraging talks or powerful sermons — if it comes devoid of love. Short of love, all of it is worthless.

Christians, we are to be known for love before anything else. This is not optional. And love breathes life into the gifts and skills given to us by God, making them effective in a dark world. Do all things through love and Christ shall be revealed.

But what does love mean? Oh, how our society has warped this. Love means tolerating everything, right? Love means no one is wrong (except the Bible, of course), right? Everything goes, everyone is right, we make the rules now.

Wrong. Utterly, entirely, categorically wrong.

This is love:

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. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial 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, even as I have been fully known. –1 Corinthians 13:4-12

Love is patient, kind, humble, gentle, easygoing, forgiving, steadfast, righteous, strong. God’s love is overwhelming, a force so powerful that it can defeat anything. God’s love defeated sin and death when it manifested itself as Jesus Christ, Son of God, slain on a tree and raised mere days later.

Love is not catchy political slogans or cultural notions that give us warm fuzzies. Love apart from truth is not love, folks — it is something different. You can decide what that might be.

Love is permanent, unable to be destroyed by man or devil, as it endures at the behest of the Lord, who Himself endures forever. God created love — He literally invented it — and so of course when can it expire? It never will.

And love is also a promise, hope for tomorrow, reassurance that Heaven indeed awaits. Christians, this is not the end. Christians, your pain is not the end.

Heaven awaits, a time where we shall have the opaqueness of our view wiped away for good, our eyes opened to the beauty of a fulfilled promise.

I see now in a mirror dimly, but not for long. I know in part — but not for long, even though I am fully known and loved.

This, brothers, is love. And it is the greatest of all.

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