But If I Have No Love
1 Corinthians 13:1 “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
(13:2) If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
(13:3) If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.”
This is the best juxtaposition of love, to bring out its true place in a Christian’s life. Why does the absence of love nullify everything? What is it about love?
Love has been presented as more important than speaking in tongues. Love is more important than mountain moving faith. Love is more important than a deep understanding of prophecy and discerning all present day mysteries. Love is more important than generosity and martyrdom. What is it about love? This act of loving, what is it about? There must be more to it than probably we know!
Love here is defined as Agape love. Love without conditions. (For other types of love and biblically expected love, read our blogpost – As I have loved you, July 18, 2018). Love is both of and for God and love for fellow human beings. The following are five ways to understand love from scripture, which will help us understand why its more important than all else.
(1) Love is a result of having the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
(5:23) gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Without the Spirit of God, who also is God, you can’t love. Absence of love is absence of God in one’s life. The speaking in tongues, prophesying, faith, generosity, martyrdom, etc. Are talents, and gifts that God gives and can remain operational even after we turn away from God. Talents and gifts in use are not a sign that you are in good books with God. Only the fruit of the Spirit guarantees that one is in a good relationship with God (read more from our blogpost titled – Speaking in Tongues, July 21, 2018). I can be highly gifted and effective but if I have no love, I have no relationship with God, making everything a waste!
(2) Love is God. God is love. 1 John 4:8 “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” If you don’t love, it’s because you don’t know and you don’t appreciate God. To lack love is to lack God! That is why being gifted and being sacrificial without love is a godless, wasted effort!
(3) Love is priceless. Song of Solomon 8:7 “Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned.” Nothing can quench love and all wealth wouldn’t be enough to buy love. Love is not equal to anything. Love cannot be bought or even replaced by talentedness or giftedness. Love is greater and better than any and all talents including martyrdom, generosity, effective faith, speaking in tongues and prophesying and understanding prophecies among many others. To lack love is to lack what is most valuable.
(4) Love is an endless debt. Romans 13:8 “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.” Love and need to love has been made inexhaustible by God. The need remains. It’s the greatest need. If I speak in tongues, prophesy and understand prophecies, have noteable faith, give generously and even die a martyr… if I have no love for God and fellow human beings…i would have failed to meet the greatest need of humanity. Lack of love is therefore missing the point and mission of Christianity.
(5) Love is God’s expectation of all people. Mark 12:30 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.‘
(12:31) The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Love summarises God’s expectations of all human beings. It summarises the ten commandments. First four commandments are about loving God. The rest of the commandments are about loving fellow human beings. Failure to love is failure to meet God’s basic expectations of everyone.
Love is a verb. You can only love by loving. We must prioritize love. Love is God, love is a sign of our good relationship with God, love is an indicator of our heaven bound faith far above application of talents and gifts. We therefore must ask ourselves, before we speak in tongues, or show our understanding of prophecy, or exhibit our faith, or be generous or die for our faith, do we love?
Do we demonstrate love for members of other faiths? Do we demonstrate love for people of other races, tribes and those who oppose us? Do we love our family members, neighbors, and fellow church members and leaders particularly those we rarely agree with? Without love demonstrated, all evangelism, gifts and talents being applied are a waste. Love is being polite to each other, being able to share a meal, appreciate and bear with each other. Love is above all else!
If I do everything right, but if I have no love…it is a waste in this life and even in the life to come. Dear God give us love, teach us to appreciate your love and love of others. Teach us to love you and others, first and above all else, in Jesus name. Amen! (C)firstname.lastname@example.org (do not delete any part of this post, including this. You are free to share these posts but don’t edit the authorship or content… thank you and be blessed!)