Bible Society of South Africa

The power of love – 19 April 2021

By Xanthe Hancox

Bible text(s)

4Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud; 5love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; love does not keep a record of wrongs; 6love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth. 7Love never gives up; and its faith, hope, and patience never fail.

8Love is eternal. There are inspired messages, but they are temporary; there are gifts of speaking in strange tongues, but they will cease; there is knowledge, but it will pass.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8GNBOpen in Bible reader

The Christians in Corinth had trouble getting along. Among the myriad problems in the Corinthian church were claims of spiritual superiority over one another, suing one another in public courts, and abusing the communal meal.

It’s quite a relief to know that our modern-day church politics are not a new phenomenon!

So how are these folks, with a history of not getting along, going to learn to live together? As the apostle Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 13, by loving one another.

The love that Paul is talking about here is agape – a commitment to cherish and uphold another person. This is the word that is used to describe the love of God. It is not a feeling or a connection. It is a decision that you make to treat another person with concern, with care, with thoughtfulness, and to work for his or her best interests.

That is what this love is, and this is what Paul is talking about.

This kind of love is possible only to those who first love God. There are two great commandments. The first is to love the Lord with all your heart. The second is to love your neighbour as yourself (Matthew 22:37-39). We try to turn that around. Many of us are trying to love our neighbour without having loved God, and it is impossible to do that.

Through his suffering and death on the cross, Jesus revealed God’s true character of love, paying the price for our sin “while we were God’s enemies” (Romans 5:10). Through the power of the resurrection, God gives us the opportunity to share in the gifts of love that Christ’s sacrifice offers us: the gifts of forgiveness, reconciliation, protection, honour, and truth. May these gifts of love flow through us today.

Prayer: Lord, despite all we have done against you, you still love us. Fill us with the power to share your love with others. Amen

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