The Greatest of These, Part V

We conclude our series of devotionals on 1 Corinthians 13 with the very last verse:

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.  – 1 Corinthians 13:13, ESV

Have you ever stopped to think about why God says love, agape love, is greater than faith and hope? Faith is belief in Him. Hope is trusting in His promises. Yet love is greater than both of these. Why?

It is because our God is love. Not a God of love, but is love. There is a difference. He is everything that love is described to be in 1 Corinthians 13. He is patient and kind, seeing the truth, not rude, not arrogant, no delighting in the wrong, even when the wrong happens to someone who we would consider an enemy. Some folks try to paint the God we find described in our Bibles as some sort of mean kid or a tyrant of a king who demands fealty. He’s not like that at all.

Instead, He is the kind of God that leaves His place in heaven and comes and dwells among us for some 30 years. He chooses a path that lead to his own execution because He knows that in His death, the punishment we deserve for our sins will be honored and completed. And then, even after doing all of that He sticks by us and sends us a helper, the Holy Spirit, to give us strength and power and to guide us in the ways of righteousness. He could have stopped at His sacrifice on the Cross but He didn’t. He went a step further and ensured we would receive a gift we could never lose, a gift never given in this way to great men of the past. And though we don’t deserve any of it, our God has showered it upon us because He is love. That’s why love is greater that faith or hope.

Another thing is faith and hope are centered on Him. Some have described our God as a selfish God. Certainly He is jealous. But He is jealous in a holy way and He is deserving of all of our attention. But love, well, He wants us to share that with everyone. It’s not just about loving God. It’s about loving the folks all around us. It’s God telling us to be selfless in the way He was selfless. He isn’t asking us to do something He wouldn’t do Himself. He already did it. And as a result, love is most important. His love. Our love.

Our love should know no bounds. It shouldn’t hold a grudge. As Christians we should be the most loving, caring, kind, and compassionate people around. As you reflect on what agape love means and how well you’re meeting it, remember, though it’s a nearly impossible standard to meet, God didn’t give it to us lightly. He wants us to demonstrate this kind of love, because that’s His kind of love. And agape love is what draws folks who truly want to change their lives. They just need someone to care. That someone may very well be me or you.

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