Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13
There are so many things a child needs and cannot do on their own if they want to thrive and grow up to be successful human beings. These things are necessary, but at the top of the list that every child needs is to be unconditionally loved by their parents and caregivers. When a child experiences this kind of love, they not only thrive but also get glimpses of God, their perfect Heavenly Father, and the love He has for them. As parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and caregivers, we must show this kind of love to the children in our lives.
Few will argue with the truth that children need love. The question that we may have, however, is how do we show them that love.? What does love look like regularly? 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. 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.
Our instruction today is clear: love people well, especially the children in our lives. While we will never do this perfectly, the Holy Spirit is helping us to grow to become more loving. So how can we love the children in our lives and others well today?
In light of the call we have as parents and caregivers to love the people in our lives, especially the children in our lives, we were encouraged to reflect and grade ourselves during the weekend sermon. How are we doing showing love to the children in our lives? How are we doing loving other people in general? What’s going well? What needs improvement? After spending some time evaluating and giving yourself a grade. Make a list of three things you will do to show love this week, not only to the children in your life but also to all people around you.
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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