“If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NLT)
It’s been said that people won’t remember what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel. That’s the power of love! God not only loves, but God is love! In Him, we have the capacity to love like He loves. It’s a language that requires no translation and communicates the message of the Gospel like no other! In 1 Corinthians 13, the Apostle Paul shows the superiority of love over any other quality and offers us the characteristics of God’s love. Before he defines love, he describes what our world would be like without it…
- Without love, words are meaningless.
Compliments are hollow and patronizing in the absence of love. If you want your words to have meaning, before you open your mouth to speak, open your heart to care. St. Francis of Assisi said, “Preach the gospel at all times and, when necessary, use words.” Lewis Cass added, “People may doubt what you say, but they will always believe what you do.” In 1 John 3:18, the Bible tells us
“You show love for others by truly helping them, and not merely by talking about it.”
- Without love, knowledge is useless.
Knowledge may impress people, but love will influence them. That’s the value of love! Love is superior to knowledge, faith, sacrifice, and achievements. Without love, none of these great qualities will leave a lasting impact. 1 Corinthians 13 is the great love chapter of the Bible. Its partner is found in 1 John 4. Both chapters emphasize love as an action. Love is not a feeling. Love is something you do!
- Without love, faith is destructive.
As important as faith is, the Bible says, “… if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:2 (NLT) Great demonstrations of faith are meaningless without love. The greatest demonstrations of faith are simple acts of kindness done in love.
- Without love, sacrifice is wasted.
The Living Bible paraphrases verse 3 like this: “If I gave everything I have to poor people, and if I were burned alive for preaching the Gospel but didn’t love others, it would be of no value whatever.” 1 Corinthians 13:3 (TLB) Even sacrifice can be self-serving without love. Why do you do what you do? Check your motives. Apart from love, all our sacrifices would be of no value.
- Without love, accomplishments are empty.
I like the way the Message sums it up in Verse 3: “So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.” Make a deposit in your love account today. Love the one in front of you! Write down the names of three people who are very close to you. Pray for them today, asking God for wisdom and guidance in knowing how to love them and be a blessing in their lives. Learn to speak their love language. Actively do something to encourage them. Ask God to give you a creative idea. No matter how small or insignificant it might seem to you, a small act of kindness can speak volumes to someone else. It could even be a random text of gratitude. You’ll be amazed at how these acts of kindness will fill your own heart with love. All our awards, achievements, and accomplishments won’t matter when we come to the end of our lives. Only those we’ve loved and who love us will matter. Don’t come up empty at the end of your life. Live a life of love!