1 Corinthians 13:1-13
1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love,
I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
2 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.
3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love,
I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails.
But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues,
they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part,
10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.
11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.
When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.
12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.
Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
“Love,” Paul says, “never fails” (1 Cor. 13:8 NIV).
The verb Paul uses for the word fail is used elsewhere to describe the
demise of a flower as it falls to the ground, withers, and decays. It
carries the meaning of death and abolishment. God’s love, says the
apostle, will never fall to the ground, wither, and decay. By its
nature, it is permanent. It is never abolished.
Love “will last forever” (NLT).
It “never dies” (MSG).
It “never ends” (RSV).
Love “is eternal” (TEV).
God’s love “will never come to an end” (NEB).
Love never fails.
Governments will fail, but God’s love will last. Crowns are temporary,
but love is eternal.
Your money will run out, but his love never will.
How could God have a love like this? No one has unfailing love. No
person can love with perfection. You’re right. No person can. But God
is not a person. Unlike our love, his never fails. His love is
immensely different from ours.
Our love depends on the receiver of the love. Let a thousand people
pass before us, and we will not feel the same about each. Our love will
be regulated by their appearance, by their personalities. Even when we
find a few people we like, our feelings will fluctuate. How they treat
us will affect how we love them. The receiver regulates our love.
Not so with the love of God. We have no thermostatic impact on his love
for us. The love of God is born from within him, not from what he finds
in us. His love is uncaused and spontaneous.
Does he love us because of our goodness?
Because of our kindness?
Because of our great faith?
he loves us because of his goodness, kindness, and great faith.
John says it like this: “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us”
(1 John 4:10 NIV).
Doesn’t this thought comfort you? God’s love does not hinge on yours.
The abundance of your love does not increase his. The lack of your love
does not diminish his. Your goodness does not enhance
his love, nor
does your weakness dilute it. What Moses said to Israel is what God
says to us:
The LORD did not choose you and lavish his love on you because you were larger or greater than
other nations, for you were the smallest of all nations! It was simply because the LORD loves you.
(Deut. 7:7–8 NLT)
God loves you simply because he has chosen to do so.
He loves you when you don’t feel lovely.
He loves you when no one else loves you.
Others may abandon you, divorce you, and ignore you,
but God will love you. Always. No matter what.
This is his sentiment:
“I’ll call nobodies and make them somebodies;
I’ll call the unloved and make them beloved”
(Rom. 9:25 MSG)
This is his promise.
“I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love.
With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself”
(Jer. 31:3 NLT).
From: A Love Worth Giving
Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 2002) Max Lucado
image: (c) dayspring ecards
Love never fails. —1 Corinthians 13:8
During a devotional session at a conference, our leader asked us to read aloud
1 Corinthians 13:4-8, and substitute the word “Jesus” for “love.”
It seemed so natural to say,
“Jesus suffers long and is kind; Jesus does not envy;
Jesus does not parade Himself, is not puffed up;
does not behave rudely, does not seek His own . . . . Jesus never fails.”
Then our leader said,
“Read the passage aloud and say your name instead of Jesus.”
We laughed nervously at the suggestion.
“I want you to begin now,” the leader said.
Quietly, haltingly I said the words that felt so untrue:
“David does not seek his own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;
does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;
bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
David never fails.”
The exercise caused me to ask,
“How am I hindering God from expressing His love through me?”
Do I think that other expressions of faith are more important?
Paul declared that from God’s perspective, eloquent speech,
deep spiritual understanding, lavish generosity,
and self-sacrifice are worthless when not accompanied by love (vv.1-3).
God longs to express His great heart of love for others through us.
Will we allow Him to do it?
To love our neighbors as ourselves
Is not an easy thing to do;
So Lord, please show us how to love
As we attempt to follow You.
Living like Christ is loving like God.