1 Corinthians 13:1 – If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
One of the world’s most beloved cookies is the Oreo. It is a brilliant combination of two chocolate wafers held together by vanilla frosting. Without the frosting, there we be no such thing as the Oreo, and the world would be a sadder place for this loss.
In 1 Corinthians 12 and 14, Paul talks about the chocolate wafer of spiritual gifts. In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul reminds us of the vanilla frosting of love that holds it all together. Without love, a gifted church or ministry simply falls apart and does not hold together. Therefore, love is not secondary but primary to every ministry and every spiritual gift.
In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul is communicating one large concept, namely that there is a difference between spiritual giftedness and spiritual maturity. Spiritual giftedness is God’s enabling of us to serve Him in fruitful ministry. However, spiritual giftedness alone is not sufficient for us to be like Jesus or for our church to be unified and loving as Jesus intends. Therefore, spiritual maturity is at least as important as spiritual giftedness. Spiritual maturity is marked by love. Practically, this means that despite the difference of gifting and ministry, every Christian is to use their gifts in such a way that others know they are loved by God, the church, and the person who is ministering to them. Apart from loving maturity, giftedness is simply an opportunity to do great harm.
For any spiritual gift to be rightly manifested in ministry, it must be accompanied with love as defined by the character of Christ.
Read the list above in 1 Corinthians 13 and put the name of Jesus in every time it says “love” and you will see that the definition of love is the silhouette of Jesus Christ. Then, put your name in every time it says “love” and if you are convicted by the Holy Spirit, stop and ask Him to help you manifest more of the fruit of the Spirit, which is love (Galatians 5:22).
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