I love how 1 Corinthians 13 comes right after 1 Corinthians 12.
You’re thinking, what else would 13 come after? But the content is interesting; that chapter 12 is all about spiritual gifts. Then along comes 13. All about love.
Love. Agape love. The kind that’s perfect. Just like God.
We’re to be known for our Love. And the love that’s described in Chapter 13 using fifteen specific qualities is the “love” I want to be known for.
- Inclusive vs Exclusive. The gifts described in Chapter 12 are distributed perfectly among believers so that the Spirit’s work is competed. Not everyone gets every gift. Can you imagine the chaos that would issue?! They are exclusive. But fortunately, God’s Love (and the ability to love God’s way) is inclusive. We’re all given this gift. We just have to hone it and use it (like the spiritual gifts that we also received)!
- Foundational and Permeating. Our spiritual gifts ride on God’s love. We can’t effectively use the gifts we’ve been given, unless we allow them to ride on Love. Like the perfect flapping of the vocal chords that ride on the perfect amount of air from our lungs; the perfect recipe for the melodic musical notes in a Praise and Worship chorus. But foundational is limiting. Love needs to be permeating through every layer and depth of what we do. Like a solid-surface in the kitchen, it doesn’t matter if there’s imperfection, the content is the same throughout so you don’t quickly notice the flaws. And do we have imperfections!
- Missional and Visionary. Love reaches out and shapes our mission. Love is the beginning ingredients and the perfect product. God’s love helps us shape our vision if we let it. If we feel like we’ve lost our way, we must return to the definition of God’s love. The 15-quality checklist found in Chapter 13:4-7. Your vision will become clear and your mission will not fail (see verse 8)!
13:13. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
God’s love. We need to get back to the basics!