Love Rejoices with The Truth

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 ESV

“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.”

I want to look first here at the definition of this word “love.” It means to prefer what God prefers and to choose his choices and to obey them in his power. It means to prefer to live through Christ. And what Jesus Christ (God) prefers is what is holy, righteous, godly, morally pure, and honest. So, it also means we will not deliberately sin against others to harm them.

Now, I must admit that I have difficulty with the concept that any of us could actually be operating in the power of the Holy Spirit in the usage of our spiritual gifts and that we could do so without the love of God also at work in and through us. For if we are operating in the power of God’s Spirit we would be operating in the love of God. At least, that is my reasoning.

So, this led me to go back and read 1 Corinthians 12 where it talks about the Spiritual gifts and how God designed them to operate. First off I noted how Paul mentioned there that there are a variety of gifts and services and activities but they all come from God and that they are all given of the Spirit for the common good. So, perhaps there was some competition going on.

And then he lists many of the Spiritual gifts and how each of them comes from the same Spirit of God who apportions to each one individually as he wills. So, we have nothing to do with which gifts we get, for they are not of ourselves. They are not the same as human talents. For they are of the Spirit and are operated in the power of the Spirit, not in the flesh.

And then Paul reminded them that though they have various parts that they are still one body and should have equal concern one for the other. And he let them know that every part is necessary no matter how big or how small. So, we should never feel as though our part is either superior or inferior to others. And no part should dismiss another part as unnecessary, either.

So, from that we could assume that some people were making themselves superior or inferior to others and that they were excluding parts of the body because they weren’t like other parts of the body, or that they were taking pride in their spiritual gifts, and that they weren’t giving God the credit he deserved. And so it would fit then with Paul instructing them that if they have particular spiritual gifts but they don’t love each other that their gifts are not worth anything.

And then in 1 Corinthians 14 it gets into the misuse of spiritual gifts and it instructs us in how they are supposed to operate within the body of Christ. So, basically the message here is that we are all one body and no matter what our gifts or callings are it does not make anyone of us superior or inferior to the other for it all comes from God and not from ourselves.

So, we need to exercise love, not just in the operating of the gifts, but in our ideas about the gifts and how they are to function. For, there are many people today who totally disregard about half of the spiritual gifts and have decided that they no longer have a place in the church today. And many are terribly misusing the gifts, while others are telling parts of the body that, “We have no need of you.” So, the church today needs to hear this.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV

“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.”

Since love comes from God it is going to have his divine character traits. And if we are operating in his love we are going to operate in those character traits, too. And again, love means to prefer what God prefers and to choose his choices and to obey them in his power, and this is what God prefers, this description of what love is. We are to treat others like God treats us.

So, if we are patient, we are persevering in love, not giving up on people easily, and we are loving them even when hated or mistreated in return. We don’t get even with people who mistreat us. We don’t retaliate. But we keep loving them, doing good to them, praying for them, and saying to them what is for their good, which will be helpful for them.

If we are kind to people we do things for them which are for their good and we speak things to them which are beneficial for them, which are healthful for them. But we don’t lie to people and tell them what they want to hear just to make them feel good. Lies are never kind no matter how you dress them up. Speaking the truth in love to people is the best kindness.

Love is not envious; it is not jealous of others. It does not covet what they have and what we don’t have or be resentful that they have something we don’t have. For God made us all different and he gifted us all differently. He didn’t make us all the same. So, we aren’t to wish we were this other person or that we had their gifts because God made us who we are for a reason.

Also, love is not boastful or proud. It isn’t love if we are bragging on ourselves for our accomplishments or if we are making ourselves sound like we are better than everyone else. Now this is not saying that we have to sin regularly or admit sin we did not commit so that we don’t sound self-righteous. That would not be good at all.

If we are loving others with the love of Christ we are also not going to behave dishonorably or improperly or indecently towards others. We will act towards others with the highest of respect and honor and dignity, but it shouldn’t be an act, i.e. a performance, but this should be our character, so it should be how we would act normally anyway.

Also, if we are loving others with the love of Christ we aren’t going to be selfish, insisting on our own way. Now we need to be ones who stand on the word of truth and who do not compromise the Scriptures or morals, but when it comes to things that are not life and death situations, we need to learn to yield to others where it doesn’t matter which way we go.

Now, this next one is a BIG ONE. We are not to rejoice with wrongdoing but with the truth. This means that we don’t take pleasure in sin or in other people’s sins or in people sinning against other people. We don’t make fun of people who are different from us and mock those who are serious about their walks of faith just because it is commonplace to do so.

This also means that we don’t buy into the cheap grace gospel which tells people that they can believe in Jesus but that they don’t have to forsake their sins or obey the Lord or submit to his Lordship. That is a lie! So, we are not to rejoice in that but we are to rejoice in the truth that says we must die with Christ to sin and live to Christ and to his righteousness (1 Pet 2:24).

For, remember the definition of the word “love.” It means to prefer what God prefers, to choose his choices, and to obey them in his power and strength. So, this means that we are not going to live in habitual and deliberate sin while claiming that God’s grace covers it all.

We are going to obey our Lord because we love him, and we are going to do what is right because we love him and because it is the loving thing to do and because we love one another with the love of Christ.

The Prayer

Written by David Foster, Carole Bayer Sager,
Alberto Testa and Tony Renis

I pray you’ll be our eyes
And watch us where we go
And help us to be wise
In times when we don’t know

Let this be our prayer
When we lose our way
Lead us to a place
Guide us with your grace
To a place where we’ll be safe.

I pray we’ll find your light
And hold it in our hearts
When the stars go out each night
Remind us where you are.

Let this be our prayer
When shadows fill our day
Lead us to a place
Guide us with your grace
To a place where we’ll be safe.

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P.S. This is not an endorsement of the singers other than as musicians

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