“Without love I am nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:2)


Love (Photo credit: aftab.)

On the surface this seems clear and indisputable. If that was the case why does the witness to its truth not stand out among believers?

Love, at least in North American culture, has been diluted into meaningless. I have written before about this, how we love pickles and sports teams. Yet here I must go further than that.

Here God tells Paul to write that without love we are nothing. How does God define love then?

Godly love (or “agape” in Greek) has nothing to do with emotions, nor vocabulary, nor conclusions to actions.

Godly love is first of all obedience. Jesus commanded us to love one another (John 13:34, 35; 15:12, 17). Living in obedience to Jesus by the Bible, rejection of personal importance and an attitude of service, lead to love.

The shock increases. Faith, which we make a big deal about, carries no eternal value without love. Now if you aren’t gasping for breath after hearing this let me repeat, faith healing, miracles, walking on water, mean nothing without a context of love. So not only obedience, but the very way we express living with Jesus is either saturated in love or it is a complete loss!

UNLOVEBLLove has nothing to do with achievement for God, Biblical knowledge, or any other obvious religious characteristic. Godly love refers to a life of conscious and unconscious respect for other believers, to the point of dying for them when necessary (John 15:13).

Get this, love is not shown in criticism, one-upmanship or indoctrination to uniformity. It finds itself expressed in sacrifice of all for another believer. Contempt, unjust judgment, decisions made for personal convenience rather than careful process prove our hearts empty of love, our thoughts devoid of love and our world view vacant of love.

And love is neither shown nor proved by socially or religiously correct vocabulary. “We’re doing this for your own good” is accepted as a legitimate Christian perspective when really it screams anything but Godly love. Pulpits and religious meetings start with expressions in words of God’s authority and love, and quickly degenerate into trivializing the beliefs of other Christians, demands for loyalty to institutions, and the denial of this.

But what we can’t deny is that without love I am nothing; with love God is everything. Ya gotta love this way.

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