Saturday, October 3, 2009
1 Corinthians 13 is easily one of the most famous chapters in the bible. However, I was recently talking about it with a dear friend ad realized something I never noticed about it before. Lately I have been thinking a lot about what it means for me to be a woman of God (and for some of my close male friends, what it means for them to be men of God). Until now I sort of thought that being a woman of God meant just being a good girl, you know not being mean, doing what everyone thinks I should, not getting involved with the wrong people, making good grades, ect. Recently however I have begun to realize that more and more I am confronted with situations where it is simply not enough for me to be a good girl. The world is a broken place, full of people who desperately need God's radical love, and just being a good girl is not going to cut it. So much of the time I am motivated by fear- the fear of making the wrong choice or doing the wrong thing, the fear of what others think of me, the fear that no matter what I do I will never really get it right. But there is no fear in God's love (1 John 4:18). I spend too much time trying to figure out what things God wants me to do, instead of trying to figure who God really is, and how His spirit changes me. The Message says that Love "Always trusts God, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, and keeps going to the end." These words stick with me because these are the things I struggle with the most- trusting God and not looking back especially. May I be a woman of God by doing what love requires.
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 full understanding 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 as in a cloudy 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.
1 Corinthians 13 NLT