Two Sunday’s ago the adult Sunday school class I’m attending challenged us to read I Corinthians 13 every day for the next 30 days. Reading a familiar text over and over again can cause one to think twice about the task, but God clearly had something in mind and I needed to take this challenge.
I began the 30 days with prayer asking God to open my eyes beyond the norm, beyond what I thought I knew of this chapter to what He wanted me to see.
let me repeat that
Don’t ask God to reveal to you such things unless you’re ready to really see them.
That first week I read the whole of the text but God stopped my pondering those first few days to use the first three verses to clear away my human efforts of pleasing God. Or so I thought…
but it was more about pleasing myself.
1If I speak in the tongues[a] of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
God spoke directly to my spirit “make sure your not just talking the talk” How many times have I spoke well, spoke His word, gave His truth but I was acting out of a self righteousness, and there was no love? Anytime that it was about me, and not about His love it meant nothing, it was nothing but noise. An awful noise at that
2If 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.
This one bit me hard… a few years ago God had revealed to me that I do in fact have this gift, the gift of prophecy and it’s a gift that can be used to puff oneself up quite easily. By stating that I have such a gift, it means I have a God given ability to edify, exhort, and comfort (I Corinthians 14:3); and to help build up or strengthen; So with that, if I do any of that without pointing to God, or doing so applying His love, I truly am nothing. Most likely I’ll come across as some harsh know it all. I must have Christ’s love in me, to pour it out along side this. How many times have I used this gift the wrong way, God revealed to me that I am guilty of such and again a time of confession before Him to clear it out, to begin again with love, His love.
3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,[b] but have not love, I gain nothing
Am I giving out of a heart of love or am I giving so others will know I gave something, maybe even something big. This too hit me hard, I was convicted of a time I did just that. I had to ask God to forgive my attitude, my selfishness and to please see my gift now as being given in love. It’s never too late to change your heart and let love be the motive.
These three verses were hard! If you haven’t done so, pray them before God, ask Him to use them to clear out the selfishness from your heart. To replace it with His love, a deep, all consuming, unconditional love.