Love Never Fails
Today’s Reading: 1 Corinthians 12-13
Key Verse: 1 Corinthians 12:31
But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.
The “more excellent way,” is love. The gifts of chapter 12 give way to the love of chapter 13; the love of chapter 13 follows the gifts of chapter 12. God has given the gifts of the Spirit to His people, and He expects them to be used to build His Church. Paul points out that God desires that the gifts be exercised in love; love that is also only possible through the work of the Holy Spirit. A gift is not an indication of spiritual maturity, but love, a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23), is an indication of the growth in Christ of the believer. We give gifts to our children, not because of their conduct, but because we love them. If we based our gifts on good behavior, our children would have to earn them and they would not be gifts. The Corinthians did not exhibit the best behavior, but God still gave them gifts. Let us “desire spiritual gifts” (14:1), and use these gifts in “a more excellent way,” exhibiting the love described in chapter 13.
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Lord Jesus, I recognize that Your character is described in chapter 13. Live and love through me, Lord Jesus, I pray. Thank You for the gifts You give to build up Your Church, to exhort me to seek the good of others, and to comfort others. I gladly receive and desire to exercise all these gifts. In Your Name, Amen!
100 PERSONAL WORDS:
When I taught public school, I was so impressed with 1 Corinthians 13, that I required my students to memorize all 13 verses. These words are thought to be the most beautiful in the entire English language. Consider chapters 12 to 14 as a sandwich; 13 is the meat and 12 and 14 are the slices of bread. To be well-nourished spiritually, we need to eat the whole sandwich. As a child, I remember leaving the table, and depositing my crusts behind the couch. I went through a period in my Christian life when I did not want to partake of what seemed to me like the bread crusts of the gifts of the Spirit, particularly speaking in tongues and interpretation of tongues. One of my theological professors gave the interpretation to a message in tongues, and the thoughts that came to me were the same as his words. After the church service concluded, the teacher, Rev. Gordon Atter, came to me and said, “David, God gave you that interpretation and you disobeyed God in not giving it.” As far as I know, I’ve not made that mistake since.
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