The House That Love Built Part 2
Pastor Daniel Kolenda
August 29, 2021
Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
WHAT IS LOVE?
Love is more than just saying nice words or buying gifts for someone. Love is what Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 13 as patient and kind, and more amongst other things. It is easy to misinterpret the meaning of this passage as simply the standard for what love is, but when looked at from a wider context, God is instructing us to display the most genuine form of love: agape love. Paul points to Jesus as the ultimate expression of love and we must always remember that His love never fails.
HOW TO DEFINE LOVE
If you had to define love, what are some keywords you would use? Some may say, “It’s peaceful.” Others may say, “It makes you feel good on the inside.” Some may even go so far as to say it’s when someone looks at you a particular type of way.
Although these factors do make an impact, they do not represent the essence of what love means for us as believers. 1 Corinthians 13 is a chapter that is quoted countless times. Whether it’s on cards, on memorabilia, or even on special occasions. But, it is important to understand what exactly Paul wants us to grasp, by reading the chapters that come before and after 1 Corinthians 13.
1 Corinthians 12 clears up common misconceptions about the spiritual gifts of the Christians in Corinth. Many believers are of the belief that those who speak in tongues or prophesy appear to be more spiritual than other believers. Not only does this cause division amongst the church, but it also creates a false narrative.
The desire is that we use these gifts out of love, with the genuine intention for our fellow brethren. Every spiritual gift was given by God and is essential to the church.
LOVE IS THE GUIDING FACTOR
At the beginning of 1 Corinthians Chapter 13, Paul outlines how useless spiritual gifts are when not applied from a standpoint of love. Being able to display tongues or even prophesy can make a good impression, but it should always be more than that. If these acts are not done out of love then the intentions become invalid.
Galatians 5:22-23 states “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
There is a reason that love is listed first. It signifies that our gifts and talents mean nothing if love is not the primary focus. Love means that we put others’ needs before our own and remain humble.
Why would God bless us with these spiritual gifts to simply operate from a standpoint of selfish desire? Everything we do must not only be done with love, but with Christ at the center.
1 Corinthians 13:1 says “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.” What this means is that although you are filled with spiritual gifts, if not done out of love, your acts are filled with emptiness and confusion. If your intention does not glorify the Father, but rather, done out of a place of vainglory, then it is simply meaningless.
Love should always be the guiding factor.
LOVE IS THE SAFEGUARD
Love is patient. This might mean that during a meeting, instead of putting your own desires first in the form of sharing a particular message you may have received from God, you wait for the right time to share it as you prefer others above yourself. It can also mean waiting for the right time to address a situation and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide you.
Love is kind. How do we treat our fellow brethren in the church? Do we help them when they are in need? When our love is marked with kindness, we are living in a way that pleases God. You can be filled with all sorts of spiritual gifts and speak in unknown tongues but if you are as mean as rattlesnakes, what good is your spiritual gifts and tongues for?
Love does not boast. Do we take pride in our gifts and view ourselves in higher esteem than others? Our gifts are not meant to create a sense of hierarchy amongst brethren but rather, to fulfill what God has called us to do.
Love does not insist on its own way. Are we listening to what God is telling us to do? Or do we operate from a place of selfish desires? It is important to remember that God always knows best and our own human needs and wants cannot trump His plan for our lives.
Love keeps no record of wrongs and does not rejoice in wrongdoing. Do we gain joy from seeing our fellow brother stumble? We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and this should always serve as a reminder that we are not perfect beings. If you are in a church with no room for mistakes you will not find the gifts of the spirit.
When love is the guiding factor, you see a different environment. The atmosphere is not one that is selfish or filled with vain intent, but one where God’s love is shown. These gifts that God has given us have the power to build up or the power to destroy, and the focus should always be on the former.
The gifts of the spirit are powerful and need to be placed into mature hands. They need to be safeguarded. Love is the safeguard.
How can you display the love outlined in Corinthians 13 to your fellow brethren?
Are you using your spiritual gifts from a place of love? Do you use 1 Corinthians 13 as a guide?