"If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, 'Jump,' and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing."
~1 Corinthians 13:1,2
Today I am beginning a meditation in 1 Corinthians 13, otherwise known as the wedding chapter. It was spoken at our wedding, and with good reason. This one little section packs a powerful punch on what love really looks like. It also emphasizes that love is the epitome of what counts in life.
Most would agree that this passage isn't talking about a warm, fuzzy, feel-good love. It isn't talking about romantic or physical love either. This isn't the type of love we refer to when we say, "I love to go to Starbucks," (I do!) or "I love driving up Highway One". You get the picture. It's almost as if the word "love" encompasses too wide a scope of what we experience.
The love referred to in this chapter deserves a name of its own: agape. This love isn't about an experience we have with our senses, or even our minds. Agape is a much deeper, purer form of love that takes self out of the equation and replaces it with God. Scripture tells us that God IS love; it doesn't just say that He is loving ~ He is. But at the very essence of who God is, we see one thing shining through ~ LOVE.
Today's verses are a powerful statement that we can be smart as a whip, smooth as silk in our speech, and a pillar of faith, but none of that counts for squat if we lack the main ingredient, love. What does that ingredient consist of? GOD.
Let's say I want to bake a cake. I can put baking powder, sugar, salt, eggs, and butter into a bowl. But if I leave out the main ingredient ~ flour ~ I'm not going to even come close to getting the results I want. Just like the other ingredients in the cake, the qualities listed in today's verses are very important. But they aren't the main ingredient, and they won't produce what I want without the main ingredient added in.
I am hungering for a better understanding of what love really is, and how I can experience more of it in my life. One thing I believe ~ love is an unusual commodity in that you really don't experience it until you learn to give it away extravagantly.
I'm heading down the road called "AGAPE". Want to come along?
"We ourselves know and believe the love which God has for us. God is love, and those who live in love live in union with God and God lives in union with them."
~1 John 4:16