1 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. 2 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. 3 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.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 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. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 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. 12For 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.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
I was on a flight returning from a recent vacation, and finally reading the book that I had brought with me. It was on one of my favorite topics, restoring life to brokenness. At one point, the book quoted the above verses, and I had a thought.
Why do I only apply those verses to other people?
I’ve read this chapter hundreds of times, and memorized most of it. I always wanted to be the “good Christian” who loved well. If the “greatest of these” is love, I was going to chase after that.
I believe that love is the core of Jesus and following him. However, nowhere in these verses do I read that they are meant only for loving other people. Verse 5 does mention others: love doesn’t dishonor people or seek after yourself, but this doesn’t mean that we don’t honor ourselves and to be focused on not seeking our own good can often lead to a false sense of humility.
How would my life be different if I lived these verses for myself?
How would YOUR life be different if you read these verses and lived them out for yourself?
As I re-read this chapter, I slowly go through each “love is…” and talk about doing that for myself. Having patience, kindness, not giving up, etc.
This week, I encouraged a friend to write out 25 things he liked about himself and 25 things he wants for himself. So I present the challenge for you. Why not get crazy? Aim for 50. Share one or two of those in the comments below, don’t be shy!