If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 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 do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. (I Cor. 13: 1-3)
LOVE, a very wonderful warm word which gives us warm feelings. It is understood in diverse ways the world over and cuts across every religious sect in every tribe and tongue in every nation on the surface of the earth.
Love is a language in and of itself, a course, an enigma, a force so strong its presence changes everything. It comes in various forms and dimensions; Eros, Philio, Agape. But the love to which we refer, is that which supersedes and encompasses all other forms of love as they may be understood. This is the Agape Love.
The only true love whose presence changes all and leaves you with no deficit only increments and blessings. It is described in detail in 1 Corinthians 13: 1 – 13 and has the following 13 characteristics:
- Full of substance, unlike the hollow noise we experience often (verse 1)
- More powerful than prophetic powers (verse 1)
- Goes beyond understanding of mysteries and gaining of knowledge
- Is all involving
- Is patient.
- Does not envy
- Is not boastful, arrogant or proud
- Is polite/ soft spoken
- Is not selfishly dogged insisting on its own way, gives allowances to others
- Is not irritable or resentful, it is not just waiting for you to go wrong then say “you see, I told you so, I knew you would go wrong”, but rather is hopeful for you and encouraging
- Above all is unending
A love with all thirteen ingredients is certainly beyond man. This is the love that God manifested to us in Christ – love that would overlook the pains we inflicted on Him with our rebellion and waywardness and show us sacrificial love. He went to that extent of giving His all to us so that we may not perish (John 3: 16). In His loving nature, He would not thrust this love on us. He pleads that we accept this precious gift He has bestowed on us (Rev. 3: 20) and is ready to wait patiently until we accept His offer by opening the door of our heart.
To those who have opened their hearts’ doors to this agape love, it is impossible to keep the love to themselves (John 4: 28-30, cf vv 40-42). For those who refuse or neglect to benefit from this love, the word declares that God’s wrath would abide in them (John 3: 36b).
Have a secured week as you accept God’s gift of love with open hands and a grateful heart.
Your brother, Vicar & Archdeacon