This passage is our template on how we must behave toward one another. We can do our best in trying to be a good person; we can be in a good church filled with wonderful programs, and staffed with gifted people. We can be in a magnificent cathedral, reaching upwards, manifesting, and pointing to the glory of God. We can be pouring out our time and resources in serving Christ. However, if we are doing it for ourselves, out of selfish gain and not out of real love, we end up accomplishing nothing. We become just an annoying noise to the neighbors we are called to reach. Even having great faith is useless, and probably not even real, if love is not coupled to it. Without love, our relationships will be shallow and ineffectual. And, we can even become the hated "x" in the relationship. We can become a person who is broken or confused, prideful or arrogant, steeped in bitterness and dysfunction, all from failing to embrace what Love is. Therefore, we will have haplessness, hopelessness, loneliness, and hurt as our guild, as our identity. And, how sad that can be!
This passage, 1 Corinthians 13:1-8, shows us the path and way for our Christian life and walk. As Christians, we are to imitate Christ, and work within His parameter, which is, love. This passage is a character description of who Christ is, and it must be our character description of our actions, of our behaving responsibly in all that we do.
The proper building of relationships, as a Christian, is always within the parameters of love with no strings attached, just as God Himself works through all of His characteristics in love. By understanding love, we can also understand God, and who we are in Him, as God is the source of love, and the example of what it is in Christ (1 John 4: 7-12). This is the love that binds us together in Christ, both with each other, and with the One to whom we commit our lives..
Read carefully 1 Corinthians 13:1-8 then answer these additional questions:
1. Why does Jesus put such an emphasis on telling us to love?
2. What are the parameters you use to determine love?
3. Have you ever considered that our wrong exercise of love is like a computer virus that is self replicating, self relocating, and very damaging?
4. What have been some of your guidelines for love?
5. How can a passionate relationship with Christ, and knowing what He has done on your behalf, help you?
6. Why is it when we do our best in trying to be a good person, we will not please God?
7. How would you describe an annoying noise?
8. Why would having great faith be useless? Is this contradictory? Why, or why not?
9. What would happen to your spiritual life if you had great faith, but refused to love?