Today’s Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:27-13:13
Paul says that love is more important than gifts. “If I speak in the tongues of men & of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” It all comes down to love.
Back in the 1st Century, there was a big gong or cymbal hanging at the entrance of most pagan temples. When people came to worship, they hit them to awaken the pagan gods so they would listen to their prayers.
Here, Paul is saying that even if he were so blessed that he could speak with the greatest of eloquence in every language, but didn’t have love, then his life was as useless as this ridiculous act of pounding on a gong to awaken non-existent gods.
Burk Parsons: In Himself, God is love; through Him, love is manifested, and by Him, love is defined.
Our imitation of God’s love must be seen in our love for others. John makes this very clear ‘Beloved, if God has loved us, we also ought to love on another’ (1 John 4:11). In fact, the Bible makes it clear that, our love for others inside the fellowship of believers is so evidently an imitation of Christ that by it the world recognizes us as his: ‘’By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another’ (John 13:35).
The spiritual principle is quite simple: We cannot exercise love unless we are experiencing grace. You cannot truly love others unless you are convinced that God’s love for you is unconditional, based solely on the merit of Christ, not on your performance. John said, “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Our love, either to God or to others, can only be a response to His love for us.
The way to open our hearts to others is by receiving afresh the grace of God and appreciating what it means: seeing our own need of Christ; coming to receive His mercy; sensing how underserved His love for us is; remembering how He has also opened His heart to those whose hearts are closed against us.
John Piper: Love is the overflow of joy in God! It is not duty for duty’s sake, or right for right’s sake. It is not a resolute abandoning of one’s own good with a view solely to the good of the other person. It is first a deeply satisfying experience of the fullness of God’s grace, and then a doubly satisfying experience of sharing that grace with another person.