Study from God’s Word… 1st Corinthians, Chapters 11 - 14 … Passage for Reflection: 1st Cor. 13: 1 … NIV 1 If I speak in the tongues [or “languages”] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
My Journal for Today: Reading today, again from 1st Corinthians, in the section where Paul apparently is addressing some pressing/acute problems being experienced by the church in Corinth, including disunity, improper use of spiritual gifts, and the role of women in that particular setting. Apparently chaos was denigrating the impact of the God’s Spirit in their midst. And there has been a lot of controversy over the centuries about the interpretation of some of Paul’s teachings in these chapters.
However, in the proper context, the principles taught in 1st Cor. 13, the so-called “love-chapter,” are indisputable. Paul wanted the Corinthian believers and church, which by extension applies to today’s Christian and Church, to realize that they [we] might have all the Spirit-given gifts imaginable and they [we] might desire to apply them to “the greater good” of need in their [our] world; but if they [we] don’t express God’s love (i.e., agape love), their gifts would be like clanging gongs and accomplish nothing.
This section of the Pauline epistles is often read at weddings; and certainly the application of agape love should be exercised in a marriage. But the contextual application of 1st Cor. 13 goes way beyond the specific context of marriage. It speaks to how the church, with unity and Spirit-led fruitfulness, is shining the light of Christ, Who is our model of agape, into a world which desperately needs it. The world is dark, isn’t it? And it desperately needs the Light of God’s love to shine forth and dispel the darkness. But from whence does that light come?
Well, Jesus Himself said it (in Matt. 5: 16), … “… let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." It is those “good deeds,” activated by the expression of God’s love in/through the believer, which shine Christ’s light into the darkness. Love is so incredibly enlightening! And therefore, it empowers the believer to BE Christ in a Christ starved world; so, … it behooves you and me to answer Dr. Smith’s probing question for the day, as he writes, ”If perhaps appreciating ‘the good’ comes easy for me, how motivated am I by ‘the greater good?’ “ And for me that “greater good” is doing all I can to shine Christ’s light of love when I see darkness.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, help me to be Your torch in an ever darkening world. Amen