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Maybe you consider yourself wise and knowledgeable. You show no racism, no favoritism or hate. You reach out to the poor, give of your time or money. Others view you as an influence and a leader. You even go to church and pray. You know the right words to say to others. You are generous with your finances. You do all the right things, but something feels like it is missing? There’s one important ingredient in everything we do that makes what we do worthwhile. Love. Not just a romantic or friendship kind of love you have for your best friend or spouse, but a much deeper meaning of love.

In I Corinthians this kind of love is referred to as “agape” love. This kind of love isn’t found in anything other than through God, because it is love at it’s purest source. This love doesn’t “die” because we suddenly don’t “feel” it anymore. It’s a love that comes from a desire to offer ourselves with no self-promoting or self-seeking desire to attain something in return. Only through God can we offer this “agape” love to others. This kind of love allows us to offer it freely to others even when they don’t display any love in return, because we desire to show them love giving God the glory instead of ourselves.

We can perform the greatest of acts and live a life that others would define as “commendable,” but if we are doing all those kind deeds and actions for selfish gain or without intending to display God’s love to others through what we do or what we say, what we do has no purpose. Let’s take a look at what I Corinthians 13:1-3 has to say about this kind of love…

I Corinthians 13:1-3

“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.

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.

If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.”

I can’t count the endless times I have done what appeared to be good and right, when underneath the surface I was doing it for selfish gain or wrong intent. I want to live a life that doesn’t only speak to be heard. Doesn’t share only to be applauded. Doesn’t give only to be rewarded. Doesn’t conform only to be accepted. Doesn’t convince only to win. I want more to my life than to reach heaven only to be left with hollow, meaningless actions that I used for selfish gratification.
I don’t want to waste away my life only doing things that appear worthy by this world’s definition; trying to please others, or bring attention to myself, when the primary One I’m serving desires a much deeper form of love. I want my life to be the visual representation of God’s agape love; a love that runs deeper than the shallow love this world has craved to fill the void inside. The love this world knows won’t satisfy. It won’t last. It isn’t eternal. Only what we do for Christ will remain.
Is the love you show only to receive love in return, or are you the proof of God’s everlasting love, expecting nothing in return to those you offer it to?
This song sparked the topic of my post and I think it does an excellent job articulating the verses in I Corinthians 13:1-3. I especially like the monologue in the middle of the song as well.