9/16/2010

"...but the greatest is love."

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1 Corinthians 13:1-7

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.


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We may have given up on love. Perhaps we've waited for love to find us, only to be disappointed. Maybe our loved ones have hurt us so badly that we needed to numb ourselves from the pain. Our addictions helped to keep us numb. Now that we're in recovery we have to find a way to deal with the issue of love once again.

It's God's will that we love; without love nothing else matters (see 1 Corinthians 13:1-3). Love is more than a feeling. It's a choice of behavior that grows in our lives; it's a fruit of the Holy Spirit, produced in our lives as we yield to God. The Bible defines it this way: "Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. . . . Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance" (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

No one loves perfectly, but we must not give up on loving. We can accept the responsibility to love others and stop playing the victim by waiting for them to love us. We can be patient with ourselves while love grows. When we choose to act lovingly, the emotions will follow. We'll also find that love comes back to us.

The better we know God, the more we'll find ourselves showing love.

--Stephen Arterburn

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When a person is in the realm of the love of God, no matter how imperfect the world may be, he begins to see it as rich and beautiful, full of all the opportunities for sharing God's love.