Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13
If you had to describe God’s character in just one word, what would you say? It’s an impossible task, but the one word I think I would say is “love.” In fact, 1 John 4:16 tells us that God Himself is love. Everything He does is motivated by His love for us. When we give our lives to Him, Scripture teaches that the Holy Spirit works in our own lives to make us more like Him, including His love. So you see, Jesus made it crystal clear that His followers are to show His love to the people around us.
As we think about Jesus’ love and His command to love, some of us might wonder what this kind of love looks like on a daily basis. All we have to do is turn to Scripture. Scripture tells us what love looks like in 1 Corinthians 13. In this chapter, Paul, the writer of 1 Corinthians, explained what love is. Amidst a long list of what love is and is not, Paul explained that love is patient, kind, not jealous, not irritable, and more (verses 4-5). These are just some of the things Paul taught about love. He continued saying that love perseveres, refusing to give up or lose faith (verse 7). 1 Corinthians 13 ends with this concluding statement about love: “Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest is love” (verse 13). What a great way to end this passage of Scripture!
How do we love the people, especially the children in our lives? We are patient with them. We are kind. We persevere. We never give up. You know, of course, it is not always easy to love in this way. It’s messy. The good news is that we are not left alone in our quest to love. Scripture promises that the Holy Spirit dwells in us and helps us live lives that honor God when we give our lives to Christ. As we grow, the Holy Spirit produces fruit in us. Do you want to know what the very first fruit of the spirit listed in Scripture is? It’s love (Galatians 2:22)! The Holy Spirit helps us to grow in love.
Showing love to the people around us does not have to be big gestures. In fact, it’s often the small acts of love that have the greatest impact. Mother Teresa said it this way: “Do small things with great love.” So what small thing with great love can you do today? Can you send cookies or coffee to a friend you know needs a reminder that they are loved? Maybe you can send a card with a gift card to someone who is having a difficult week. Whatever you decide, commit to doing a small act of love today.
1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (NLT)
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.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.
When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
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