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"The Greatest of These" -- Quiet Time 1.5

We've all heard this passage before.  It's one of the "cliche" bible passages that gets preached a lot, but is rarely dissected for truth in our minds.

1st Corinthians 13:4-7
Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, 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.

This is our life's blueprint--the way to be.  This clearly defines love in plain, specific language.  Yes, this is written in NIV translation at a fourth grade reading level, so it's not difficult to comprehend (well maybe fourth graders don't know the meaning of the words "boast", "rejoice", or "perseveres").  But I hope it's clear that if followers of Christ, especially those starting the journey, are looking for a way to change their perspective--just read those words.  

Need simpler terms?

Don't be--boastful, proud, rude, self-seeking, easily angered, hold a grudge, or enjoy evil.

Be--patient, kind, protecting, a truth seeker, hopeful, and persevering.

Want to further define/clarify the above passage by outlining the precending verses?

1st Corinthians 13:1-3
If I speak in tongues of men and of angels, but have not 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 have not love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.  

Pretty serious stuff there.  Actions taken, without love in your heart, are meaningless.  Words, gifts of knowledge, and even charity mean nothing if done without love.  

Clearly, Paul (the author) is trying to convey a theme to the church in Corinth:  Love is God.  God is love.  Love God.  In all that we do, love God.  In spite of all that we don't do, God loves us.  

Paul gets the last word (no pun intended) of the last verse of the NIV translation of the 13th chapter of 1st Corinthians.  

1st Corinthians 13:13
And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love.  But the greatest of these is love.

1.5 is off the charts!  Yes, love is the quintessential element in life.  

Think about it, does anything drive mankind more than the pursuit of love?  We all want to find value and to be valued.  Throughout life we are in pursuit of a love worthy of our faith.  

Unfortunately, there are many temporal loves which shine bright in this life.  There is, however, a love worthy of our God-given faith that graciously gives eternal life.

Each of my "Quiet Time" writings stem from Oswald Chambers' "My Utmost for His Highest" and is inspired by his writings on the day I read them.  His writings help steer my thoughts and provide a starting point to expand from.  

Sometimes I stick to the theme of his daily message and provide my own thoughts, while other times I use a component within his theme and run with it.  

Lately, as I read the Bible, I see more and more passages like the ones discussed above and find truths in them in ways I hadn't in the past.  In the past I read the Bible to memorize passages or try to follow a preacher's message for the day.  With the help of devotional readings, like those of Oswald Chambers, navigating the Bible is more coherent for someone with my limited knowledge of it.  Limited is a relative term here, but appropriate in my case.

I appreciate the feedback.

1st Corinthians 13:13
And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love.  But the greatest of these is love.

Simply, if we place our faith in God's love we receive hope.  We are in a world in desperate need of hope, yet this simple divine truth is so elusive.  

Hope is directly proportionate to the caliber of love in which we have placed our faith.

Just did a word search on "grace". I fully expected grace and love to be translated interchangeably.  To my surprise they were not, grace appears to be the fruit of love.  Love then is spirit, it is not an emotion as the world thinks.  Perhaps love starts and ends with God.

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If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair. --C. S. Lewis