Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Necessity of Love

Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. 1 Corinthians 13:8

·      It is necessary to give meaning to religion.

Religion without this quality is empty and dead.  In the Old Testament, the prophet Ezekiel looks over the valley of dry bones and realizes that without the spirit they are form and flesh without life.  As breath brings life to a body, so love brings value to religion. 

·      It is necessary to change noise to music.  v.1

Religious ritual often without heart seeks to make itself more important by becoming louder or more intense.  God reminded His people repeatedly in the Old Testament that it was not the blood of goats and bulls, not the quality of the sacrifice, but the heart that made worship acceptable.  We would do well to see that unity is not in form of worship but state of heart.  It is motive and not method that moves the heart of God.  Some of the musically worst solos I have ever heard have been the most treasured and worshipful,

·      It is necessary to change spiritual pride to spiritual power v.2

We have all encountered the pompous, Bible toting, arrogant authoritarian-mannered, pigeonholing, rude, pushy, holier-than-thou, tract-littering, defender of the faith.  With all of their actions and power of speech, they deafen the listener with their attitude.  A little girl came out of a service in which a preacher had denounced everything in sight to say to her mother, "Is he mad at us?"  How tragic when love does not shine through our sham.  The person who carries his Bible diplomas like badges of war and looks down on those who have not had such opportunity to learn runs the danger of the sin of contempt without love.

·      It is necessary to change self-seeking religious sacrifice to honest, compassionate service.  v.3

One of the greatest condemnations that Christ had was of those who would stand at the gates of the temple to hear the trumpet blow when they put in their gifts.  Their desire to be seen outweighed their concern that the need be met.  "The world has yet to see how much good could be done if it didn't matter who got the credit."  How I used to fear leaving a name out of the bulletin for credit and feeling the wrath of some who were hurt because they were not recognized.  Love focuses on others and not self in service.  

So, it is good to have a Valentine’s Day and acknowledge the wonderful things love does.  It is important to remember that God IS love.  Of all the things He could be, He has chosen to be love.  If it is good for God, how good can it be for us?
Happy Valentine’s Day!

Scripture to Claim:
But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13

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