It’s interesting to note how Paul wastes no time in likening love as the most powerful expression of intentional devotion in verse 1. Often, inspirational homilies begin 1 Corinthians 13 at verse 4, immediately jumping into intimate details, without explaining why framework is equally essential. But Paul contrasts this tendency by shedding light on love’s framework before guiding the reader on a tour into the heart of God’s love, while also enhancing the passage’s structure (i.e. verse 1-3 bookend s verse 4-12 with verse 13).
Perhaps the most important takeaway from this “prelude” is: God’s love is required to be alive. Without love, without the most authentic foundation divinely designed to be at the core of everything, we are walking dead. Before sacrifice and surrender, before any application of God-given gift, there must be a root system connected to a life source, which is none other than God’s perfect love. With framework applied, we can believe in an unfathomable love, far greater and deeper than the sum of its components. We can believe that in the same way Christ is love, any relationship with God is not only defined by love, but is love, permanently solidified in all it encompasses.
Thankfully, Paul does not stop there.
Furthermore, love cannot flirt with unrighteous, since genuine love commits to fearing God and walking in purity. Paul captures this well in verse 4-7, by stating how we love God and one another in fullness and integrity when we love what God loves (patience, kindness, selflessness, believing the best in every person) and hate what God hates (pride, arrogance, selfishness, conceit via exercising faith and hope without love).
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Friday, October 5, 2012
Suddenly out of mind, grappling with grace again
Can’t shake the unshaking truth that beats
Emphatically, unequivocally undeserving
Reminding me to speak the light:
We have to receive grace to give it
We have to embrace grace to love it
And doing so gratefully to love at all