Thursday, January 28, 2016

A More Excellent Way

"But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet show I to you a more excellent way" 1 Corinthians 12:31.

In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul warned the church not to be ignorant about spiritual gifts, their diversity, and use within the body of Christ (v1).  He states that just because some people did not have certain gifts, it did not mean their gifts were not useful and needed, “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you” (v21).    He told them that love is superior to spiritual gifts, and the necessary ingredient with the use of gifts, "But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way" 1 Corinthians 12:31 (ESV).  In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul elaborates on the more excellent way of love, its great value, virtue, and victory. 
The value of love is beyond estimation.  No gift or possession is profitable without it.  In 1 Cor. 13:1-3, Paul compares the superiority of love to the gift of languages, the gift of prophecy, miraculous faith, and the doing of sacrifices and good deeds.  We must recognize the value of love also, for God's love enables us to do His work effectively.  God is love and the more like Him we become, the more love we will possess. But if we don't have love, we have gained nothing!

The virtues of love include kindness, humility, selflessness, patience, compassion, faith, and love.  Many people try to express the virtues of love without possessing love.  This is impossible to do.  We must possess the Spirit of Christ if we are to succeed in performing the work of Christ. Being filled with the Holy Spirit enables us to practice the virtues of love . Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Neighbor!  Oh, Neighbor! Look to your neighbor and say, "LOVE."  "Love" means "LORD OF VIRTUE EVERLASTING." Jesus Christ is Lord of virtue, and the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 3:13).

There is great victory in love! Family members, friends, pleasures, and possessions sometimes fail, but "love never fails." Faith pleases God, but faith serves its purpose only in this life.  We cannot live without hope, but hope will not  be needed in the next life. Love is a necessity; everyone needs to love and be loved. Love is eternal; it will unfold in greater beauty and glory while endless ages roll. Victory is assured  to those who are filled with the love of God. Paul concludes by saying, "So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.: (1 Cor. 13:13) 

No matter how gifted you are, how well you can sing, minister, serve, you're just making a whole lot of noise without love.  God is love!  In what ever you do, choose the more excellent way of love.  Love never fails!


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