13.7.12

Again...redeemed.

This week I have learned what it means to be humbled, yet again.
It is so easy to fall in to apathy. Jesus is only in our lives if all we do is for love. He will always be there; He will always work for the good of mankind. But if I live according to Scripture without Him, I am living an empty life, and I fail to honour He who honours me every day.
There is a passage in 1 Corinthians 13 that is so well known that it is recited at a ridiculous number of weddings. Everybody knows "Love is patient, love it kind." But the other day I read the whole chapter, and the words hit me like a ton of bricks. 

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. 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. 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.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
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. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 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. For 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.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Without love...I am but a resounding gong. A clanging cymbal. Without love, I am nothing and I gain nothing. And what is love? It does not dishonour others. It is not self-seeking. It always protects, always trusts. I have not honoured God with my actions. Nor have I honoured those I say I love. If my lips speak of love yet my actions speak no truth, then what am I left with? Empty hands and regret. Yet we all love, and we all want love. Crosby, Still and Nash wrote some great lyrics that speak to this.


"Old man, take a look at my life

I'm a lot like you
I need someone to love me
The whole day through
Ah, one look in your eyes
And you can tell that's true."
The beautiful thing is that I have a second chance. Again, and again, and again. And as time goes on, I continue to need forgiveness just as much, but I slowly learn what it means to desire more. Not to want to move mountains, or to give all I possess to the poor, but to live in love. To see face to face with Christ; to know fully and to be fully known.

That is love. And I want nothing more than to reciprocate that love; to God, and to those alongside me.