If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 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 do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13 (NIV)
Happy Valentine's day! Valentine's day is not something I normally make a point of celebrating (not that I'd say "no" to a beautiful box of chocolates or a special meal with my husband, he he he), but I thought the worldwide "day of love" would be a great day to look at what the Bible says about love.
There are many verses in the Bible which speak of love of various kinds and I think that this chapter in 1 Corinthians has to be one of the most well known and possibly one of the most read at weddings. Paul wrote these words to the Corinthian church which, to outsiders, may have looked no different from the rest of society. There was immoral and ungodly behaviour, false teachings had crept into their beliefs and there were divisions between church members to the point of lawsuits being instigated against one another. No wonder Paul wrote a whole chapter about love to them!
So what does it look like for a Christian to show love to others? To truly show God's love, some of the traits one must exhibit are patience, kindness, forgiveness, slowness to anger and humility. Many of these are very challenging application points for me! Are there any particular points in this chapter which are challenging for you? Then you might like to make it a point of prayer each week, asking for God's grace to improve on the areas in which you struggle.