Responding to SufferingHow do you feel when your life is interrupted by suffering and adversity?
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Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love (v.13).
Most Christians are familiar with 1 Corinthians 1:1 and even some non-Christians can recite portions of it. The beauty and wisdom in this great hymn of love is easy to appreciate, but when it comes to application . . . well, that’s another story.The apostle Paul wrote this passage to a church that was dealing with the effects of division and confusion. Jealousy, pride, dissatisfaction, and selfishness had permeated the church in Corinth. In a culture that quantifies a person based on his giftedness, Paul set the record straight. He said that a Christian devoid of love is worse than nothing—regardless of his giftedness (vv.1-3). The Greek word for love used here is agape. It is the kind of love that is lavished on others without considering whether they’re worthy of receiving it or not. John Stott describes this love as “a servant of the will, and not a victim of the emotion.” Paul helped us to understand the nature of love when he gave us 15 facets of it in 1 Corinthians 1:1. Bible teacher Alistair Begg explains, “In Greek, they are in variable form. Paul’s emphasis is not so much upon what love is as it is upon what loves does. It is a reminder to us that we are not merely to read and hear these words; rather, we are to put love in action. Additionally, the present continuous tense used denotes actions that must become habitual in our lives. These characteristics of love must be factored into our life as we employed them on a daily basis, making them part of our habitual activity. They are a result of constant repetition in much the same way as we build our muscle by way of exercising, and would see atrophy when there is an absence of exercise.”Let’s follow Paul’s instruction as we consistently exercise love for others.
—Poh Fang Chia
Read John 13:1 for Jesus’ teaching about the way we ought to love one another.
In what areas of your life do you need to exercise love more consistently? Which of the 15 facets of love found in 1 Corinthians 1:1 will you begin working on today?
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