If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains but have not love, I am nothing.
Jed and I have a good friend who has lost relationship with an entire side of his family because of his belief in the Christ of the Scriptures. His own mother has cut him out of her life entirely. I have NEVER heard him refer to this as "picking up his cross" or "spiritual persecution." Instead, many years later, he still pursues his family despite their rejection of him and speaks of his constant longing for their restored relationship. He has been deeply wounded but his response is love.
If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
A young woman has lost years of her life to drugs, alcohol, and a pregnancy which resulted in giving up her child for adoption. The love she experienced in order to hand over this child to a family who has the resources, support, and stable environment to raise this child is greater that this young woman could possibly muster up herself.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
Still another friend's husband cheated on her and is in the process of leaving her. Her response? She fights for his heart. She does not fight for her husband to love her but fights for him to love Jesus. Do you understand the lonely, devastating nights she has experienced lately? And yet her love is great.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
We have another friend whose mother is addicted to cocaine and has been virtually his entire life. He could tell you stories that would blow your mind. I have never heard him disrespect his mother. Actually, I see him praise and respect his mother, serve her well, and love her deeply. He has devoted his life to pursuing those like him and bringing them to the same well of love that he drinks from.
Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
Another friend was raped in high school and has experienced deeply difficult times as a result. She has walked through this and has been set free from her sadness by the joy and love that only God offers. She is now deeply and contagiously passionate about what God has done for her and in her soul. She now ministers to others with her story of redemption.
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Don't get me wrong, these friends get discouraged, tired, and worn. They give in to the temptations of the flesh. But they do not just believe in what their God has done for them. They have experienced it. They live standing under the Niagara Falls of God's love. They breathe it in daily. They come to the fountain of God's restoration, peace, and joy, and they drink deeply from it.
Praying today that I drink deeply because of my deep pride, arrogance, bitterness, jealousy, and lack of love to those around me....
Credits: The passage is I Corinthians 13 and the "Niagara Falls of God's love" is from my Daddy.