Love is the Greatest
I was reading the bible and came across a passage which lit up to me. The Apostle Paul wrote in his epistle to the church in Corinth and he penned an interesting statement:
1 Corinthians 13:13 (NLT)
Three things will last forever — faith, hope, and love — and the greatest of these is love.
Out of the 3 things Paul mentioned, he picked love as the greatest force. Would not faith be the greatest as with faith as small as a mustard seed, one can move the mountain into the sea? Would not hope be the greatest as with hope, one can maintain focus on God without wavering and stumbling?
We can have faith for our lives, believing that God will move on our behalf; and hope for our future, believing that God has a great plan in store, but we can only truly love when we lay down what is ours for others. While faith and hope are powerful forces, love is a different force with a different origin. While faith and hope are about us, love at its greatest and truest is about others.
John 15:13 (NLT)
There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
Hear me now — there is nothing wrong to have faith and hope in God as God Himself wants us to put our trust and confidence in Him.
Proverbs 3:5 (NLT)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Romans 15:13 (NLT)
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
How is love different then? Love is about giving yourself to others — You can give without loving, but you cannot love with giving. God demonstrated the ultimate act of love by giving his one and only begotten Son. In fact, God himself is Love. God does not just have love to spare. He is Love. He is not faith. He may be the God of hope, but He is not hope. He is Love.
1 John 4:8 (NLT)
But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
If God is Love, then that makes Love the greatest. We as Christians are called to be transformed into Christlikeness. If we are to be in His image, then we need to learn to love in all that we do. The Apostle Paul also had this to say about loving:
1 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. 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; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
Paul is saying that you can be a spiritual person who speak in different tongues, prophesy, have an in-depth knowledge of the bible, act on faith to move mountains and even give everything to the poor, yet would have gained nothing in the Kingdom of God if the motivation is not right. Your motivation must be out of love, genuine love, true love which originates from the heart.
Food for thought: Why you do is more important than what you do. Check your heart today. Why do you serve? Why do you lead? Why do you give? Why do you pray? Why do you do what you do?
Have faith for the present, hope for the future, but above it all, love others just as Jesus commanded us:
John 13:34–35 (NLT)
34 Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.
Final thought: Jesus gave the commandment after washing his disciples’ feet. Jesus said this in the act of loving and serving his disciples. How apt can this be? Jesus did not just command, but He demonstrated first, and only after that, He gave His commandment. Jesus walked the talk.
So what is the proof of you being a disciple of Jesus who is close to His heart? Is it because you read the bible, do your quiet time, pray and worship regularly? Think about what the Apostle Paul mentioned: Speaking in tongues? Prophesying? Moving mountains?
Many would think that this would be the case. We think that by doing all these are the evidence of our relationship with God, but we are wrong. Jesus clearly said that the proof is when you love one another.
Simple as that.
In all that we do, love others.
Find out more about the amazing church I call home: Heart of God Church