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Love Is the Greatest (1 Corinthians 13)
1 If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it;[a] but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
8 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages[b] and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! 9 Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! 10 But when full understanding comes, these partial things will become useless.
11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.[c] All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
Faith Scripture – Finding It In Difficult Times
Faith is a difficult subject to cover, because it is so personal. How many of us have wished we had more faith, prayed for God to give us faith, wondered if we didn’t have enough faith?
18 No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known. – John 1:18 (New International Version, emphasis mine)
Faith is not quantifiable. That’s why it baffles people who don’t share our faith in Jesus. I understand their unbelief; faith in an unseen God defies logic; for those who cling to the intransience of this world and the things in it, faith makes no sense at all.
6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. – Matthew 6:6 (New International Version, emphasis mine)
By our very nature we want to cling to things that we can see, touch, and feel. We want to hold the solidness and substance of things in our hands, feel the firm ground under our feet. We want things to be concrete; even our idioms reflect our desire for solidity in our lives.
29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” – John 20:29 (New International Version, emphasis mine)
Yet, that’s the paradox of faith – that things that are able to be experienced in the here and now require no faith at all to believe. And that’s the beautiful thing about faith; it requires a conscious decision to step outside the bounds of what is known. Faith is a choice; you must choose to believe.
1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. – Hebrews 11:1 (New International Version, emphasis mine)
Even so, I also believe that faith is a gift. If this is true, then when it is new faith must also be cared for like a new plant. It must be tended to, fed, watered, given light. This is how we increase our faith; by spending time with a God who is unseen. While this continues to confound those who choose to remain without faith, it’s a beautiful mystery that’s unveiled layer by layer in our lives; and as our walk with God deepens, so does our faith.
Scripture presents faith as more than just a feeble hope we cling to – in the Bible, it’s characterized as being a shield that protects us from harm.
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. – Ephesians 6:16 (NIV)
In many ways, faith is it’s own reward. It sees us through the hard times, and gives us a hope that many don’t have during darker days. That’s why it’s so important to share your faith, even at the risk of rejection and ridicule. People need hope for salvation, and that’s what Jesus brings.
We all lack faith sometimes. I know that times are hard for many of you who will read this. In these, the most difficult times to have faith, take whatever faith remains within you and hold it up to your Father in prayer. Then, turn your worries over to Him and know that God is in control, that He loves you, and that whatever the circumstance you are facing, God is with you.
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28 (NIV)
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