Without showing love we are nothing

Published 3:44 pm Saturday, February 18, 2017

By Larry P. Stover
Stover lives in Valley Grande and is pastor at Praise Park Ministries Church of the Nazarene

First Corinthians chapter 13 is called the “Love Chapter” of the Bible.

It is one of those Mountain Peaks of scripture that stands out above the rest.  It is all about “Agape” love which is usually defined as “Christian love,” “holy love” or “unconditional love.”

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It is the highest form of love that is summed up in a definition of our Heavenly Father, “God is love.”

It is profoundly located between First Corinthians chapters 12 and 14, that have much to say about “spiritual gifts.”  Chapter 12 ends with these words, “
And now I will show you the most excellent way.”  Chapter 14 begins with the admonition, “Follow the way of love.”

As one reads the 13th chapter they find a reoccurring phrase that echoes a stark caution to Christians everywhere.

It is the idea, “without love, I am nothing.” “Nothing” is something of no value or is non-existent. So, how important is “Christian Love” in the life of the believer today?

Verse one is fascinating to me.

It reads, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels and have not love, I am become as sounding brass or a tinkling symbol.”

How many languages can you speak?  I have studied Spanish, New Testament Greek and Old Testament Hebrew in my life.

I once knew a person who spoke 10 languages fluently. Would you be impressed if I could speak 1,000 languages?

Maybe the thought that I could communicate with extraterrestrials would at least cause you to raise an eyebrow.

While those gifts might impress you, in the sight of God they mean nothing if you do not possess and demonstrate holy love in your everyday life.

The second verse is even more challenging.  It reads, “If 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 do not have love, I am nothing.”

Imagine that God gave me more knowledge than anyone else on earth.

My “IQ” would be off the chart. I would have the ability to quote the encyclopedia Britannica cover to cover.  Would you be impressed yet?

Would it help if I knew all the answers iuto medical science?  It still would not impress our Heavenly Father.

The verse continues with the thought that I would be able to move mountains.  I suppose that would make me an earthquake looking for a place to happen.
The truth is that without Christin love in my life, these abilities mean absolutely nothing in the sight of God.

The introduction concludes in verse three with the words, “If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to be burned, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”

This was especially addressed to people who were trying to get to heaven by doing good works.  If I gave everything I had to help the less fortunate and hungry it might be impressive.

Then we think about giving our bodies to be burned we often think of early Christian Martyrs who were burned at the stake. The Apostle Paul more than likely meant the act by which slaves were branded in the same way cattle are branded today.

Again, the reality of these illustrations is to remind us that without Christian love in our lives, this is really not impressive at all.

Too many believers today are trying to make it through life by impressing God and other people by what they can do. Christian love takes the emphasis off of us and places it on other people. When unconditional love becomes the foundation of our Christian character, we begin the journey of reflecting Jesus Christ in our lives every day.  And don’t forget; It will make your life “Simply Beautiful.”