This chapter of the Bible is one of the most famous chapters even to non Christians, when it comes to love. More often than not, whenever we want to hear what the Bible says about love, we first open this chapter.
We cannot deny that we are already so familiar with this as we hear it most of the time. And sometimes, that familiarity walls us from truly knowing and understanding what love really means. When we recite these verses, we just know that it’s something amazing and we feel bliss about it because we know we have it. And that is one misconception because we think that this is only about agape love and only God can do that type of love, and so we can only receive and have it.
Yet, in fact, we fail to comprehend and apply the knowledge of what was really being talked about. The agape love that was described here is actually incorporated to brotherly and romantic love. The different forms of love is not mutually exclusive, rather a collective action such that whoever whenever and wherever we love, we must remember what this chapter tells us.
Paul clearly states that love is not merely as an emotion. It’s not something that we just feel for someone or something. It’s not that feeling when our heartbeat races, and butterflies fill our stomach, and we get so nervous yet happy because someone we like is around.
Love is a verb and that should be acted and demonstrated. Love is an act that we can choose into doing, not just because we feel like it, but because there is pure joy in doing so, that God planted in us, because to love is what He ultimately want of us.
Love is unconditional.
1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Verses 1-3 says that even with everything that we have, and with anything that we can do, if our goal is just to boast and to show how powerful and how able are we to do such things, we are nothing. If love is not the reason of our actions, then they’re all worthless.
When we go back to the previous chapters, the Apostle Paul was actually rebuking some Christians in Corinth because of their abusive trait towards the gifts of the Holy Spirit entrusted upon them. They believe that they must be special Christians. They wanted to be greater than anybody. They wanted to be leaders, not servant leaders. They wanted to show off, forgetting love.
I remember when I was still so young that I’ve already learned playing some instruments. I became part of the music team for some time and right now as I look back, being able to play in front of the others was my motivation to be active in church. I waned everyone to see what I’m capable of doing and that I’m talented. Yet in fact, I was just nobody. There was no love for God, when it should have been the ultimate reason.
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant
5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
Love doesn’t wait for an end goal payback, rather for something valuable: experiences and lessons. It is affectionate and generous without a single thought of receiving something in return. It doesn’t become impatient because what we’re waiting for seems delayed, rather it waits with hope because we know God has good plans.
It makes one rejoice behind the stage when somebody’s got the spotlight. And it gives us humility on what we have and and bless others without boasting. Love makes one capable to be a good steward of what God has entrusted him with, and use it for His glory.
Even when we feel offended, love makes us choose to speak words of inspiration and encouragement. It makes us compassionate and understanding towards people.
It makes us do our best to give glory to God and not unto ourselves. It is unconditional.
Love is sacrificial.
6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love shows us true joy that comes from God alone while we battle with sin. It allows us to die to ourselves and carry our own cross daily; to surrender everything to God. It gives way for us to lift up our thoughts and decisions so that His plans will prevail.
Love gives us a push at the back to take a leap of faith amidst trials. Love enables us to rejoice because we know that it’ll carry us through the storm even when we thought that we can’t go on anymore.
It doesn’t think about the temporary comfort of oneself brought by selfish decisions and actions. It makes us pursue honoring God and serving His people through our lives. It is sacrificial.
Love is eternal.
8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.
9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part,
10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love
The faith that we have when we believe in God, the faith that caused us salvation, the faith that we have amidst trials: they will all be perfected by love. The daily hope of having a joyful day, the lifetime hope of experiencing a good future that God promised us, and the eternal hope for eternal life: they will be lived because of love.
Because in heaven, there will be no more hurting and pain. There will be no room for trials and temptation.
Love was, is and will never be bounded by time. If time is boundless, then so is love. It is the greatest.
Sometimes, because of the deceitful nature of our hearts, we forget to act love. We envy and boast, we become impatient, arrogant, and what else. Yet God’s love changes our hearts to be in line with His. Transformation is not linear but everyday, we are constantly being changed by dealing our experiences with love.
The way we talk, move and decide, step by step, we can be able to demonstrate that pure love just as how Jesus demonstrated it on the cross. He went on without fear of rejection (unconditional) while enduring the most painful and shameful experience (sacrificial), and declaring, in His resurrection, that nothing can and will ever annihilate that love (eternal).
The demonstration on the cross is unconditional, sacrificial, and eternal.