Saturday, October 10, 2015

Love is all you need? 1 Corinthians 12-13

I think that statement depends on how we each define "love".

I mean, in our culture, love is a very broad definition and has an even broader usage in the English language.

I love my husband.

I love cats.

I love my job.

I love chick fil a waffle fries.

I love that vase.

I love God.

I love that hair color.

I love people.

We love objects, and we use "love" to identify the objects value for us.

We love human beings, and we use "love" to identify their value to us as well.

The problem is that sometimes we forget that the humans we love aren't objects designed for our benefit.

To love humans, we may need to remember that human love has limitations. Why? Because we tend to make people objects to fill voids in our emotional lives.

When I first got married, I wrongly idealized marriage on an emotional level. I expected my husband would make ME happy. Affirm me. Agree with me. Rescue me. Do for me. Talk to me. Meet my needs. Read my mind.  Which word is repeated there? Yeah, "me, mine and my".  So human love is very ego-centrally focused. It's all about me!

But here's how my marriage works in real life. I spend an inordinate amount of time adjusting my expectations of another human being, who has his own opinions, desires, thoughts and needs.  He does not exist for me. He exists because God created him. And God continues to see fit to help me and him, and every other human, learn that loving each other, and all those other people, requires a different kind of love.

Enter our text today: 1 Corinthians 12:27-13:3


Now qyou are the body of Christ and individually rmembers of it. 28 And sGod has appointed in the church first tapostles, second uprophets, third teachers, then vmiracles, then wgifts of healing, xhelping, yadministrating, and vvarious kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But zearnestly desire the higher gifts.
And I will show you a still more excellent way.


 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 aprophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, bso as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. cIf I give away all I have, and dif I deliver up my body to be burned,1 but have not love, I gain nothing.

Okay.  I love Paul's directness. He knows humans are egocentric. So he's hoping to help this church in Corinth.  He goes on to describe love in chp 13, but I want to stay here.

I hear this saying:  it doesn't matter how awesome you think you are,  even if you do super cool stuff. What matters is how you see people.  Objects or humans created by God, bearing the image of God?

This requires divine love.

Divine love does not require defending itself, justifying its existence, or declaring its power. Divine love doesn't need to prove itself by making you feel accepted, or valued. Divine love doesn't have to blame, scapegoat or point fingers. Divine love doesn't need to prove itself to others. Divine love is Divine, perfect.  And God has given us a way to love one another, in Christ.

Human love has all of the above needs and more.

I'm choosing divine love.

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