The famous love chapter in the Bible is often misunderstood. It’s not about romance. It’s not even about human love. If we read about the love that is described in 1 Corinthians 13 and then try to be more loving we’re in trouble! That’s a lot of pressure, guilt, and failure! In 1 Corinthians 13 it is God’s love — perfect and unfailing Love — that is being described.
Love is not about me and what I can muster up in order to care for others. The source of love is the Trinity. Father, Son, and Spirit who love and honor one another above self with a steadfast love that is unceasing, having no beginning or end. Their divine deference to one another is beautiful! And it doesn’t stop there! Their love brings in angels, the saints in the heavens, and all those on earth who will receive God’s grace through Jesus Christ.
Listen to the Trinitarian conversation… The Father says, “This is my beloved Son — listen to him!” The Son says, “The Father is the greatest!” “Wait for the precious gift of the Holy Spirit that the Father will send.” The Spirit constantly prays, “Jesus is Lord! Abba Father!”
The only way for you to love like 1 Corinthians 13 describes is for Love to live inside you and overflow from you to others. As John says, “We love because God first loved us” (1 John 4:19). (See our Soul Shepherding Moment, “No Pressure. No Guilt. Just Love.”)
Read 1 Corinthians 13. Take it in slowly. Re-read it and pray the words from your heart.
Personal Reflection and Prayer
What aspect of 1 Corinthians 13 love (e.g., verses 4-7) do you most need to experience and trust? Write down a word or short phrase to describe this attribute of love.
- Think of an example of Jesus in the Gospels loving people in this way.
- Give thanks to God for Jesus and the ways that God has loved you in this way.
- Ask God to help you learn to abide in his love in this way so that you can share it with the people around you.
Using the word/phrase for love that God gave you complete these sentences, focusing especially on the one or two that seem most important for you:
- If I preach/teach a wonderful message but lack __________ I am nothing.
- If I counsel people well but lack __________ I am nothing.
- If I know the Bible inside and out and speak with wisdom but lack __________ I have nothing.
- If I know how to lead others well but lack __________ I have nothing.
- If I sacrifice my all for God and others but lack __________ I gain nothing.
- If I complete my To Do List but lack __________ I gain nothing.
- If I please people well but lack ____________ I gain nothing.