If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
This week we have been reminded of Paul’s words, “Husbands, love your wives” (Ephesians 5:25). We will also be familiar with the words of Jesus, “Love your neighbour as you love yourself” (Mark 12:31). But what does ‘love’ actually mean? The Greek word for ‘love’ in these passages is ‘agape’. This means self-sacrificing love, the kind of love that Jesus showed by coming to die for us.
Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 13 are the closest we get to a definition of ‘agape’ love. Let’s spend some time today thanking God for the way he has loved us and examining our lives to see how far we are responding to this love with love for the people that we meet very day.