Hi, welcome to redeem the Commute. I’m Ryan, your host for the Daily Challenges. Yesterday we read the Bible’s most beautiful description of love – the famous 1 Corinthians 13 that is read at so many weddings!
Here’s what we read yesterday:
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not 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 have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 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. 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.
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13 ESV)
After his beautiful poetry about love, Paul then turns to an analogy of childhood versus adulthood. The things we did and thought as children were pretty important to us then, and we thought we were doing pretty well. But when we become adults, we see how insignificant some of the things that had been important to us were and how poorly we sometimes did them, and we don’t think of things or do things in the same way anymore.
In understanding Paul’s mirror metaphor, it’s important to note that the mirrors of Paul’s day didn’t reflect perfect images. Most likely the mirror he spoke of was of polished metal and would have reflected at best an unclear image. The connection, then, was that now we see the things of God but not very clearly and accurately. When we meet God face to face, our vision will be perfectly clear!
Until then we’re practicing, and not perfect. What matters is that we’re practicing life in God’s kingdom.
That is his goal in life is to see God face to face, to follow Jesus to life in god’s kingdom. Until then he knows he’s seeing dimly – not really seeing life as it is, but through selfish, sinful eyes. He’s recognizing the shortness of his life, in the big picture. But there is something he can do in his life, that Christian communities can do in this life, that is permanent. It’s sacrificial love.
In 1 Corinthians 13:8, Paul departs from talking about the importance of love and emphasizes its permanence. Other things such as prophecies, tongues, and knowledge will one day be gone. To wrap up this passage, Paul returns to the prominence of love. It seems like the Corinthian church was an active and vibrant place to worship – there were all kinds of people exhibiting these amazing gifts from God by speaking his words, speaking in new languages, sharing amazing truths about God. But they didn’t love each other, and so it was all pointless and fleeting.
He points out that faith and hope are important and will endure. But he echoes the principle of love being over all.
Question: Do you think we can develop this kind of lasting, eternal love on our own? Why or why not? If not, where does this kind of love come from?