Writing yesterday made me think of a verse. Well, a chapter. I was writing about our service for and to the Lord being a joyous thing, and not grievous. You'll find that post here.
As I was working that post over in my mind and heart, even before it was written in draft form, I became preoccupied with I Corinthians 13. Now, I'm not going to quote the whole chapter here. I can't. I'm longwinded enough as it is. But go read it. It's so good. Many of you already know it, but go read it again. It's sometimes called the love chapter.
Let me tell you first something about this love that is called charity. We've talked about the fact that I've managed to skim through all of my years of school with not one Greek or Hebrew class. Praise the Lord. I had enough trouble with the two years of French that I had in Junior High. That kind of memory work is not my thing and I stink at it.
But, about the word for love in 1 Corinthians 13. This one is easy. The word for love here is agape. There are four words for love in the Bible. Agape is a Greek word, and it is the highest form of love of the four.
Agape is selfless, sacrificial, unconditional love. It transcends all others, and serves regardless of circumstances. It is the love of God for man and should be of man for God.
It is not sexual. We have a problem in our society. We have been programmed to see all love as sexual. I believe that is a result of television, but I'll not go there. Just suffice it to say that it makes me sick. All societies do not think this way. I learned a lot of things in Haiti when I was just a young girl. Maybe we'll talk of it some day soon.
But there is a pure love that has nothing to do with sex, and we are admonished to have it for each other. It's a pure, Godly love. Okay, I'm done.
Now to get where we're going with 1 Corinthians 13, and how it ties in with yesterday's post about our service for the Lord. This chapter explains something to us about our service, and I think sometimes we miss it. The Scripture talks about those with spiritual gifts, and sets them up as an example.
The spiritual gifts listed were those given to the early church as a sign from God of His presence. Many of those do not continue today because now we have the Word of God in the form of the New Testament, and we no longer need them as evidences.
1 Corinthians 13:9-10 - "For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away."
Now, I know there are some who see this differently, and that's okay. We can love Jesus and agree to disagree about a thing or two. :)
Okay, so there are those with these spiritual gifts, being held up in very high esteem. And God says over and over again that even if you are one of these special people but you are serving God without this agape love, that you are a failure! That all of your efforts sound to others like a big, terrible annoying sound. They want to cover their ears and run!
1 Corinthians 13:1-2 - (Without this agape love...) "I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. I am nothing."
(I removed several phrases there, being careful to do no damage to the Word of God, but for the purpose of making the point concise.)
Isn't that a good lesson? See how that goes with yesterday's post? I pray that helps you. It sure does help me. :)
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