Added: Ivette Leland - Date: 17.01.2022 17:31 - Views: 23066 - Clicks: 3998
Familiarity can rob us of delight. Becoming overly comfortable with an object, location, or saying potentially causes us to ignore its uniqueness or relevance. It is like a song on the radio; what once was catchy and meaningful is rendered dull and meaningless when listened to too often.
The same thing can happen with the truths of scripture. This is no truer than in the case of 1 st Corinthians Furthermore, and it has become the go-to passage for wedding ceremonies and marriage vows. It is on posters, t-shirts, and countless memes.
When Christians think of romance, it is a good bet that somewhere along the way, these words will be referred to. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, 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. Love never fails. There is only one problem with this: Paul is not writing about romance! This passage does not describe the relationship between husbands and wives, boyfriends, or girlfriends.
Paul is not attempting to describe the institution of marriage. His statements about love simply do not refer to sentimental expressions of fondness, or squishy feelings of puppy-like attraction. Frankly, what Paul says is a lot more profound, and a whole lot more radical. To understand exactly what Paul is getting at, and how important this word is for our lives today, we need to understand three things about the love described in 1 Corinthians This may sound like a no-brainer, but it is important to remember.
The two chapters must be read together. This is how Paul expected his letter to be read. Love expresses how the Christian life has been transformed. Spiritual gifts, such as tongues, prophesy, or words of knowledge, are not exercised to the bolstering of the spiritual ego.
They are to be manifestations of love. If our workings of spiritual gifts do not lead others, or ourselves, into a deeper experience of Christian love, then we have missed the way of Jesus. The same is true for Christian ministry. In chapter 12 Paul puts forward his image of the Christian community as a body. Just as a body is made up of many parts, so too the Christian community involves a multitude of people, all working together for a common purpose.
Each component of the community is honored and uplifted. This is true whether one is a teacher, a preacher, or a worker of miracles. Again, the question comes: How do we know that one is engaging in ministry in the way of Christ? The answer is love. For Paul, the logic is clear. Paul highlights various examples of spiritual gifting and then roots them in the context of the Christian community. He then discusses how each ministry works together for the good of the whole. Finally, everything holds together through the empowering work of love. Love transforms us. Love flows through us.
Love is fundamental to living a Spirit-filled life. If we don't have love, can we really say we have the Spirit? Recognizing this priority of love in our spiritual lives does not yet answer the question of how we define 'love. After all, we use the same word to describe our devotion for the Lord and our fondness for bacon-jam! Surely the two are not equal. The word Paul uses throughout 1 Corinthians 13 is the Greek word agape. While our contemporary usage of 'love' can be quite broad, agape was narrowly defined. It was not used for love of spouse or partner, nor did it express the camaraderie of friendship.
These expressions of affection were taken up by different words: Eros, for romantic or intimate love; and Phileo, for familial love. Agape is a unique type of love. It is best to understand agape as the love that finds its source in the presence of God. Ultimately, this divine, sacrificial love of God is seen in the incarnation. Jesus is the incarnation of agape. Love is not a principle. Love is not a philosophy. Love, in this context, is certainly not an emotion. In the Christian understanding, Love is a person — and that person is Jesus. When God incarnated himself in human flesh, Love walked upon the earth.
It was Love that was born in a manger; Love was crucified on the cross. Thus, we cannot understand the call to love without rooting ourselves in the presence of Jesus. Without Jesus in our lives, the call to love expressed in 1 Corinthians 13 is nonsensical. When Paul writes about love he is speaking about a way of life that is empowered by the Spirit and connected to Jesus. We can now begin tackling what exactly Paul is getting at in 1 Corinthians Paul is writing about the way Christians live in the world. He is not speaking about the romance of two lovebirds but of the witness of the Christian community.
Christians ought to agape others, as Christ has agape-ed us John While this may appear simple enough, these words are packed with meaning. To be patient and kind, for example, is to act in the same manner as Christ. The kindness we receive in Jesus must be mirrored in the kindness we share with others. To do otherwise is to undercut the flow of the Spirit within us. When Christians are rude or aggressive, they are negating the very life to which Christ calls them. Furthermore, the call to love others demands that we recognize that we are not the only ones that Christ loves.
After all, if Christ is patient, kind, and forgiving toward others as he is towards us , what right do we have to be anything different? This is the fundamental principle that undergirds this entire passage. Christians are to express toward others the very love that Christ expresses to us. To do so would be the highest form of insult — to Christ and to our neighbor. Because we know this passage so well, we tend to forget how profound this is. In an age known for its 'cancel-culture,' the call to be patient and kind is radically transformative.
Christ calls us to express love to those outside our circles of friendship and communion. It is to those who differ from us, who may even be opposed to us, we are called to be patient rather than dismissive. Instead of being rude, opinionated, or aggressive, Christ calls us to kindness.
There is no place for these things in the loving heart of the Christian. Of course, we all have people we dislike. We all have people we would rather not associate ourselves with. This occurs as much for those within the church as those outside the church. Christ, however, empowers us to move beyond this.Meaning of love is patient
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