Love Does Not Envy

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. I’m still waiting for those links to be available for all who have been interested in some of my recent endeavors. I also encourage readers to visit our Facebook page, have some discussion, and of course, become a supporter.

Today I will be continuing our look at 1 Corinthians 13 in how love does not envy.

Envy has been said to be the sin that causes more pain to the person with envy than to the person that is being envied. It is one of the seven deadly sins. What is the idea behind envy however and why does love not envy?

Envy is not necessarily the same as wanting what someone else has. To some extent, we all want that. I often look at my apologetics heroes and think that I want to be in the position they’re in of teaching and debating. I could look at people I knew who were married and say “I want that”, which of course I have now. The correct attitude to have when you see someone with something that you want is to do your best to earn that something by your own efforts.

Envy however says that even though the other person has earned what they have, they ought not to have it. The only reason is that we are being deprived of that something and because obviously, we are more important than everyone else, then we ought to get that something.

It is painful since the other person can often have no idea of what we’re feeling and instead, we are the ones who are suffering by focusing on what we do not have and since we cannot be happy not having that, we don’t want it to be the case that anyone else is happy having that.

By contrast, love seeks the good of the other and if you are seeking the good of the other, you will be happy for the good that the other person is having. As said above, you can still want this good for yourself but be delighted that someone else can partake of that good since you realize that the universe does not circle around you. It was not designed to meet your personal tastes.

Isn’t that what we should be doing more often anyway? Do we really want to spend all our time focusing on what we do not have? Do we really want to focus so much on how other people are not pleasing us instead of focusing on how we should please other people? Do we want to get caught up in our own world entirely or do we want to realize our place in God’s world?

The early church took envy seriously. Clement said that Cain had envy which led to the result of his murdering his brother Abel. Thus, the Corinthian church needed to banish envy from their midst. Yes. Envy is a sin that in its first appearance in Scripture leads to murder. This is not little thing.

Few of us will murder, but it will cause us to hate our brothers in our hearts. We should all remember that Christ had something to say about hating your brother in that way. Envy is in a way then wishing the death of the other. How can it be that you love your neighbor but wish their death simply so you can profit? In fact, even if your brother lost what he had that you wanted, would that mean that you got it? No. You wouldn’t get it but then you think you could still have happiness knowing that someone else isn’t happy? What an awful thought it becomes!

Keep in mind that this can happen with Christian ideas as well. Aaron and Miriam had envy over Moses since God got to speak to Him and well, aren’t we just as good as Moses is? God should speak to us! What was their result? Miriam got struck with leprosy and the two of them were warned not to speak against Moses.

As if it wasn’t enough of a lesson that the high priest and the sister of Moses had to suffer, Korah and his followers wished the same thing for themselves and were swallowed alive by the Earth. The situation was so bad that God had to make an object lesson for Israel out of Aaron’s staff to put an end to debates.

Yes. Envy does not have to be of material goods only. It can be of the things of God. We should all hunger and thirst for righteousness, but let us not envy another person’s righteousness. Instead, seek to emulate it.

We shall continue on the topic of love tomorrow.

Love Is Kind

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. I had a good time on my trip and did an interview with a radio station on the topic of the Trinity. I plan to have a link up soon. To get to the topic of the blog tonight, we’re going to teach on kindness.

Now keep in mind that this is concerning love within the body. I do believe that there is a way to approach those outside of the body of Christ who wish harm on the body. That is done for the love of those who are in the body. Tonight, I will be assuming that the love we are talking about is the love within the body of Christ.

Kindness does not mean that you never do get tough with the body however, but the question is in what way and why? We often want other people to be open to ways we’d like them to change, but God forbid that they ever dare suggest to us any ways that we should change! When that is done, we quickly become defensive.

Love is that which seeks the good of the other and being kind means seeking that good. Even when we are angry with someone, we should be kind. Ravi Zacharias has said that in marriage, there is never a good reason to be unkind. Unfortunately, many people can think of times in their marriage when they have been less than kind. (Even in my short time of marriage, I know of times that I should have handled things better)

Why is this important? It is because we seek the good of the other for the sake of the other and not just for what we can get out of it. A wife should seek the good of her husband so that the husband will be good for his own sake and not just so that he’ll clean the house or watch the kids. A husband should be good to his wife for her own sake and not just because he wants to have sex. Granted both spouses could get what they want for themselves by helping the other, but helping the other should be seen as a reward in itself and if a bonus comes from it, well enjoy it.

If you are seeking the good of the other, then when you find that they are the better, you will find your joy. This would be something that would benefit many married couples if they could realize that their joy was to be found in the other. It is not about the other person meeting your expectations, but about you meeting the expectations of the other. Of course, you have to express some of what you like and don’t like and ideally, the other partner would understand that and seek to comply.

For a lot of us, it would certainly be better than getting on the defensive. Even if it is in the context of receiving criticism that one does not agree with, one can simply reply with a thanks to the person for giving their input and really take it into consideration. Maybe there is more truth to it than you realize.

We shall continue next time.

Love is Patient

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. Before continuing tonight, I wish to let you readers know that I will be out of town this weekend so there will be no new blogs until I return. Tonight however, we are going to start our look at love in 1 Corinthians 13 with verse four where we start with “Love is patient.”

Now honestly, how many of us when we think about what love is would start off with patient? However, this is what Paul starts off with. In a church that was struggling so much with disunity, this could be one of the most important lessons that was needed. Love is indeed long-suffering, as we would say.

We seem to live in an age where we have no patience, which is interesting since we supposedly have so many time-saving devices around us. Where we should have the most time, we feel rushed to and fro and rarely seem to take the time to enjoy ourselves and can rarely get a good night’s sleep because we’re so stressed out.

Of course, one of the best examples of this is in driving. One can imagine the joy the apostle Paul would have if he could have traveled the Roman Empire the way we can travel today. What do we do though? We complain suddenly if we have to wait a little bit longer at that red light or if someone is taking too long to make that turn. Many of us have seen that driver that weaves in and out of traffic on the internet at high speeds. A few of us have been that driver before. We’ve been the driver that pulls out in front of someone because we have to make it, and we’ve been the driver who honks the horn at that moron who does that to us.

Why is it we get impatient? Could it be because, well darn it, reality is supposed to go OUR way! The world is meant to adjust according to our schedule. When we’re going somewhere, everyone else on the road ought to know where it is we’re going and exactly just how important it is. When we’re at the check-out line at the store, that idiot in front of us should know that we are in a hurry and if we do not get that extra minute the world will suffer cataclysmic change.

Of course, chances are, when we get home with that extra minute, we’ll waste it and while we’re wasting it, we’ll get upset with others for interrupting it. I know my Mrs. had to remind me a few times that my family doesn’t always know they’re interrupting something when they call. Granted sometimes people do interrupt, but do they know that?

And speaking of family, they can often receive the greatest extent of our wrath. After all, they should know our demands better than anyone else and they should know the way we want things to be. Why is it that they are not complying with our wishes? Can’t anyone see how important MY needs are at this moment?

Could it be that your needs really aren’t that important?

And could it be that honestly, they’re not really needs?

C.S. Lewis once said that we are all very hard to live with, and indeed we are. When I preached my sermon on love, I had even said in it that my wife is at a disadvantage seeing as being married to me, she never has to learn patience whatsoever. I also then told the audience that our couch would be nice and clean that evening if they visited seeing as I’d be sleeping on it. Yes. I am very hard to live with also. (If she reads this, she will give a huge “AMEN” I am sure.)

While we may think the rest of the world should be more considerate of us, perhaps we should see if we are more considerate of the rest of the world. You can influence other people for good or evil and you will do so in fact, so you’d best try to influence them for good. You can only change one person directly however. It is not your child. It is not your brother or sister. It is not your friend. It is not your parent. It is not your spouse. The only person you can directly change is you.

So if you’re going to change someone, why not start with the someone you see in the mirror every day?

Might it be nice if that other person changed too? Yes. It could be. Perhaps you can influence that, but you can definitely do something about you so that whether that person changes or not, you can still live in a Christlike manner. Do you want your Christlikeness to depend on what the other person does?

This issue that you think is all-important right now, will it really matter a year from now? I remember speaking to a friend once concerning a mutual friend of ours and how she said that the situation was so bad that she didn’t really know how their friendship would survive. I remembered that and about a year later asked her how she and this friend were doing. “Fine. Why?” I then reminded her of that incident. It was a revealing moment for the both of us.

Of course, when we make it a panic situation, we’re normally forgetting God as well. If we want to talk about someone who is patient, it is God. What is it that we’re putting up with? Well someone is driving too slow or haggling with the cashier about the price of an item or our parents are nagging or our spouse is interrupting our work or our kids are making too much noise.

When it comes to God, we’re guilty of divine treason.

Treason? Isn’t that a bit strong?

No. If anything, it’s not strong enough. If you are driving down the road and you see a police officer, do you not tend to automatically slow down and make sure you are doing everything right? If you are at work and you realize your boss is watching, do not most of us try to make sure we’re doing the best we can at our job? If you’re a student at school and you know the teacher is coming by, do not most of us try to make sure we look like we’re studying or working hard?

Why? We know these people have the authority to deal with us if they see us stepping out of line and we could pay the consequences.

However, with the ever-present God who is the all-knowing judge, we don’t do that. Consider what we are denying.

We are denying His omnipotence saying He does not have the power to judge us.

We are denying His omniscience saying He does not know that our way is better for us than His.

We are denying His omnipresence by saying that He does not see. Our sin is secret.

We are denying His omnibenevolence in saying He does not have the best for us in mind.

We are denying His sovereignty saying that our rule is superior to His.

In essence, we are saying He is not who He claims to be. We will be on the throne of our lives instead of Him.

Everyone of those sins merits us eternal punishment also and is the reason Christ died.

Now take a look at any sin you’ve committed and consider the Son on the cross and ask “Is it really worth it?”

“Is it really worth losing my cool with that guy on the interstate I don’t know?”

“Is it really worth mentally insulting the person in front of me at the store taking a long time at the check-out?”

“Is it really worth getting upset with my parents when they just want to help?”

“Is it really worth getting upset with my spouse when chances are they just want to spend time with me?”

“Is it really worth getting upset with my children when they could just be wanting to be with Mom or Dad?”

Now of course, there are times to act. These times we normally know. If your children are seriously misbehaving, by all means let it be known and deal with them. However, you must know if they are really misbehaving or if it might be just something in you that needs to change. For what needs to change in you, the starting place is your reactions. How are you handling the situation? Don’t just look at what you’re doing on the outside. Look at what’s going on inside.

J. Allan Petersen says in his book “Your Reactions Are Showing” that we can see a small child in a room of toys playing and think this is a happy and contented child. We cannot know that from those actions. Want to know what kind of child you really have? Just bring in another one and see how the first one reacts to having to “share” his or her toys.

Many of us can be good Christians on the outside, but we all know who we are on the inside with our reactions and we have to ask if they’re really being Christlike. Are we treating others the way Jesus did? Yes. Jesus got tough at times. Jesus was soft at times. Both times He was so appropriately. It’s not an all or nothing game. We have to see how He did it and see if we’re following likewise.

Then we must remember that we, the ones guilty of divine treason, have a God who is patient with us in all of this. Ought we not to be patient with our fellow man the way God has with us?

We shall continue next time.

Self-Sacrifice and Love

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. Right now, we’re going through 1 Corinthians 13. Tonight, we’re going to be looking at the topic of self-sacrifice and love. After all, Paul’s next point is that if we give our bodies to be burned and have not love, we have nothing.

Martyrdom became something common in the early church. Christians weren’t the most popular people around. For some moving accounts of martyrdom, one can read some of the writings of the early church and read about people like Ignatius and Justin Martyr. One of the most incredible ones to read about is the martyrdom of Polycarp. There’s also the account of how Peter when he was crucified asked to be crucified upside-down because he was not worthy to die in the same matter as his Lord.

Indeed, one can read these accounts and hope that if push came to shove, that we would do the same thing. It’s quite easy to talk strongly. We can all be like Peter and say “Lord. I am wiling to die for you!” How shocking it is if we were told that “You will deny me three times.” “Me?! Deny you Lord?! Never!” only to hear ourselves later say “Him? Sorry. Don’t know him. You must have me confused with someone else.”

And of course, as I tell people, if we think about it, dying for Christ is pretty easy. Living for Him is the hard thing and rather than think about dying for Him, we should think about living for Him.

Paul’s point in this situation however is to say not even the sacrifice of death is worthwhile if one does not have love. We can even conceive of how someone would make that sacrifice if only for the sake of personal honor rather than out of love for the one that they say that they serve.

Of course, I don’t intend to call into question the faith of the early church fathers. I do not doubt that Ignatius, Justin, and Polycarp were all believers. I do believe that we should look to them as great heroes of the faith and hope that we could make the sacrifice, but we must remember that because one is a Christian, one can make the sacrifice. Making the sacrifice does not make one a Christian.

Thus, we have seen that for Paul, there is nothing that you can have or do that if you do not have love, will merit you anything. Love is absolutely essential in everything. The question we can ask ourselves then is if we are really seeking love. There is the problem in our society that we are seeking the wrong thing in that we make love something that it is not. Let us be clear that we must be seeking biblical love.

So what is that love exactly? We’ve spent much time talking about the value of love and indeed we have to do that. As I said at the start, it can be tempting for us to read through that portion without taking the time to really see what it says. Now that we have seen that, next time, we will begin looking at what it is.

Giving and Love

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. I’ve been taking us through 1 Corinthians 13 lately to see what the Apostle Paul has to say about love. Tonight, we’re going to be looking at the topic of love in relation to giving.

Many of us often see big announcements from businesses when they make donations. If you go to some stores and shop, you can see them announcing how much they’ve given to a local charity. Most of us upon seeing this can think it’s just PR. To an extent, we can be right about that.

Of course, we shouldn’t blow it all off that way. Some companies could really care about these charities and want their customers to know that this is a caring company. We cannot judge the hearts. However, we can at the same time be aware that a large act of giving does not necessitate the existence of love.

Paul here tells us that one can give all that they have to the poor and still not have love. We can remember the story of Jesus being in the temple and seeing the rich come in and dropping in large amounts of money. It is when the widow comes in and gives all that she has that Jesus really pays attention.

We can also remember the words about the Pharisees that Jesus said in that they like to make it known when they are giving gifts so everyone can see. He tells us that they have their reward then. They want to give to be seen by men and so they are seen by men. The reward is given.

Now sometimes you will give and the giver will know who you are when giving. This happens with PayPal donations today to our ministry and we definitely see it when we have Christmas and birthday celebrations going on. “Okay. This gift is from Mom. This gift is from Aunt Susie. This gift is from my brother.”

Isn’t there such a blessing however in receiving a gift often and not knowing who it’s from? Right off, I can think of three incidents in recent history in which I have received a generous gift from someone and to this day, I have no idea who it is. Of course, I can speculate each time, but I suspect that the person just wants to see the satisfaction of knowing that we enjoy the gift. In a sense, that person too has their reward in the joy of giving, but I can be sure that they have even more coming eventually.

In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul tells them that God loves a cheerful giver. When we give, it should not be something that we think we’re guilted into. A lot of churches do this on sermons involving tithes. Whether you think the tithe is valid today or not, the point is that sermons on giving to the church regularly tend to be met with skepticism, and we can see why. Unfortunately, there are a lot of churches today that are highly interested in big bank accounts on Earth instead of in Heaven.

By all means, Christians should give, but giving itself is not a sign of love. It has been said that you can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving. Let us learn to love first then and those of us who might have a tendency to being stingy can learn more about giving on the way.

We shall continue next time.

Faith and Love

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. Tonight, I’m going to be continuing our look at 1 Corinthians 13 and how much we can learn about love from this chapter. I invite you all meanwhile to come to see our new Facebook page that has been put up. If you are on Facebook, just type in Deeper Waters and check us out.

The text today tells us about if we have the faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, then we are nothing. There’s a story about a man who visited a monk living alone on a mountain. The monk asked the visitor “How are things going in the world? Do they yet have the faith that can say to this mountain ‘Rise up. Throw yourself into the sea.’?” At this, the mountain began to rise to which the monk said “Mountain. I was not giving a command. I was just quoting Scripture. Sit back down” and the mountain sat.

It’s amusing, but it is not what Christ had in mind. Of course, that could be possible if God so desired it, but it is doubtful the request was based on a wish to change the topography of Israel. The ancients were prone to hyperbole and Jesus is using an extreme answer to make an extreme point. However, what is really being talked about with faith?

Faith is never to be seen as blind belief. It’s not just a great hope that we have. Faith could best be translated as a kind of trust or loyalty. Faith in YHWH is the kind of loyalty that can move mountains. When one realizes that He is able to do all that He has said he would and that He truly is who He claims to be, then one is living by faith.

But how can one have loyalty and not have love? Such a question is simple to answer when one thinks about situations we have today. Many of us have had bosses who we have not respected at all. We did what they said and we were sure that they were able to carry out what they told us that they would, but we did not do so out of love for them. It was done simply because we had to. In other words, we were going through the motions if anything, to save ourselves from being fired.

Service to God can become the same way. We can serve God simply in order to avoid his judgment or by just going through the motions. We could thus be incredibly loyal to God, but if we do not have the kind of love that God is looking for, then our loyalty counts for naught. What good does it do to have a loyalty to God that does not end in our becoming Christlike? None whatsoever.

This is also important for the Word of Faith teachers who think that the performing of miracles in their presence is the sure sign of God’s blessings. While I question the huge majority of those claims, God could respond to the faith of someone who is sincerely seeking him through the flawed teaching of a word of faith teacher. To point to several miracles done around you is not proof that you are of God. Matthew 7 makes that clear to us.

Next time, we shall continue going through the text.

Knowledge and Love

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. I’ve been going through 1 Corinthians 13 lately and tonight, I’d like to look at one of my favorite topics as an apologist, and that is the topic of knowledge. After all, for many of us, our books are our life’s blood. A Seminary professor’s wife I know once stated in a talk to women whose husbands were in Seminary “Make peace with the books.” Books mean everything to us.

The relevant part of 1 Cor. 13:2 tonight tells us that if we can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge but don’t have love, we are nothing. Now consider that if you are of the apologetic mindset. Paul refers to many things in the Bible as mysteries. These could not be understood without divine revelation. Note that he doesn’t mean it in the sense in which a pastor often asked how God can be three and one says “It’s a mystery” instead of giving an answer that He is three in one sense and one in another.

Imagine having that spiritual insight that when Paul speaks about a mystery, you could say that you knew it all along. You were able to divine that before the revelation was given. Paul wants you to realize that even if you could do that, if you did not have love, you are nothing.

What about if you have all knowledge? Now Paul does say in 1 Corinthians 8:1 that knowledge puffs up. The solution to this is not to cast aside knowledge but to gain humility in addition to knowledge. Sadly, this knowledge can often come across in the form of spirituality. After all, I know what God approves and disapproves of and I am a better Christian than you for doing what he approves and not doing what he does not approve.

In the apologetics community however, it’s easy to think that you have to answer every objection out there. It’s tempting to see other people as a threat. We have to avoid that. We also have to realize that just because someone knows a lot about God, it does not mean that they really know God. The love of God is more than intellectual knowledge, although it is certainly helped by such knowledge. The more you love something, the more you will want to know about that something.

C.S. Lewis wrote about how it can be to look at the woman in church who is a little old lady and think about what an impoverished life she lives not knowing about such things as the Nicene Creed or the Calvinism/Arminianism debate or who Irenaeus and Justin Martyr were, but then you realize that in her prayer life and devotion to God overall, you are not worthy to untie her sandals, it brings a humility to you. Let us never make the mistake of thinking that being a better Christian apologist means that we are a better Christian.

Now I’m not saying that this lady would not be blessed by knowing about the Nicene Creed and such. In fact, I think she should seek to know about them, but she does not have to be an intellectual. Not all Christians are of that kind of mindset. That is fine. Each has their own part to play.

For instance, in our household, I am the intellectual. My wife is smarter than she realizes, but her bent is more towards matters of the heart. That is fine. She helps me in many ways by seeing things from a layman’s perspective that I often miss and by being a strong encouragement and fortification for me.

Is knowledge important? Absolutely. Knowledge is not love and if we do not have our knowledge with love, we essentially have nothing.

We shall look at the next part next time.

Prophecy and Love

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. I’ve decided to take us on a tour lately of 1 Corinthians 13 and see what this magnificently beautiful chapter has to say about love. My wife knows that one of my prayer requests every night is to understand this chapter. Tonight, I’d like to look at the first part of verse 2. It raises the point about having the gift of prophecy.

What do we know about Paul and his view of prophecy? Paul was abundantly clear that prophecy was the greatest of the gifts and he advised the church to seek prophecy. Moses in the Old Testament had a wish that all of God’s people could be prophets and in the New Testament we see at Pentecost the start of the fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel as to the pouring out of the Spirit would mean that people would prophesy.

Now we’re not going to get to the end of the verse tonight, but Paul’s point here is that if one has prophecy, but they do not have love, then they are nothing. Note that he is not saying that he has nothing. He is saying that he himself is nothing. As important as prophecy was to Paul, love was far more important.

What was prophecy? Today, we can often think of prophecy as simply foretelling the future. To an extent, that did happen in prophecy in the Old Testament especially, but it was not always that. Much of prophecy in the Old Testament is the exhorting of the people to righteousness. It was not so much telling the future as it was giving commentary on the present.

In the New Testament, the closest role could be to that of a pastor. Because someone was a prophet, it did not mean that they were telling the future. It could mean that they possessed a key insight into the message of God at the time and knew how to apply it to the lives of the people. After all, it is doubtful following the rules of 1 Cor. 14 that God would give one prophecy to one person only to have them sit down when He decided to give another prophecy to a different one.

Paul values prophecy because it is involving the proclamation of the gospel. Tongues would be seen as a means of conveying the gospel, but prophecy would be seen as having to do with the content of the gospel. Paul was grateful to God that he had the ability to prophesy. Of course, being an apostle, he did such on a far greater scale, yet at the same time differentiated. In 1 Cor. 7, we find him making a distinction between what he says and what the Lord says. If anyone could say “Thus sayeth the Lord” surely Paul could, but he did no such thing. He simply pointed to his authority as an apostle and we trust today that God did guide this fine evangelist in what he said.

Let us not skip over this part however. Remember what Paul says about prophecy and look at what he says about it after this chapter and what is his conclusion? IF you have prophecy, but you do not have love, you are nothing. You’re not worth talking about. No one should take you seriously at all.

Let us keep this in mind as we pursue what love really is.

Tongues of Love

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. I’m going to be continuing again our look at 1 Cor. 13. Last night, I wrote on how agape is the kind of love being discussed in this passage. What is agape exactly? Before he gets to what it is, Paul wants us to know how valuable it is. Often times, I fear some of us can be so eager to get to the latter part which describes love and then get to the ending part with so many great quotes we regularly use, that we miss the gravity of what has been said here.

The text is as follows:

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.

The text is straightforward enough, but what is being said? Let us consider the surrounding context. Paul has been talking about spiritual gifts and one that has been a hotbed of controversy is the gift of tongues. For now, let us lay aside what we think the gift of tongues is. Whatever it is, we can all agree it is a gift and all sides I know of believe it contains with it a way of speaking another language or understanding another language, be it an earthly language or a prayer language.

Let us suppose that someone has this gift, to which Paul himself later says that he does. Note that in Paul’s time, oratory ability was highly valued. There were several rules for speaking and one needed to be a good speaker in order to get the point across. Paul does the same in his epistles as well as there was a proper rhetoric to follow when giving an argument.

Many of us have experienced today the idea of being dazzled by a speaker and while we cannot really tell what they said, they sure sound persuasive. Politicians try to specialize in this wanting to get an audience caught up in an emotion rather than address the arguments that they put forward. Sadly, a lot of preachers do this as well thinking that a lot of emotion in place of a good point is enough to spur people to Christlikeness and shows that their message is from the Holy Spirit.

In saying that, I am not against rhetoric. I do believe that talks ought to be presented in a way to be persuasive. I believe there is a great importance in emotional appeal, thus there is no reason to decide someone does not know what they are talking about simply because there is great emotion there. There is also no reason to they they know what they’re talking about because they lack great emotion.

However, what Paul is saying is to picture that you are a great speaker in some way and you do have the gift of tongues, even if you could communicate with the tongues of angels. Paul says that if you do not have love while you have that gift, then you are simply making noise.

Consider the magnitude of this. This was a gift that the Corinthians were taking pride in. They were vaunting their spirituality by this gift and what does Paul say about it? “You’ve got the gift? Well congrats. But you don’t have love, so you’re just making noise. Nothing good will come of it.”

What does that say to us today? It tells us that we don’t want to be just making noise either. Now I believe in our evangelism there is a time to be tough and a time to be soft, but there is never a time to not have the love of Christ in what we say. In our talks, we need to be persuasive and prepared, but we must have love. It is absolutely necessary. Otherwise, we could spend hours upon hours talking, and we would simply be making noise.

What else has Paul to say about the importance of love? That is for next time.

Agape

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. We’ve lately been looking at 1 Corinthians 13 and love. In discussing the four type of love in Greek thought, we are going to be discussing now the one that Paul writes about, which is agape.

We are often told that agape is God-love, but this isn’t really the case. After all, agape is said to describe the love of darkness that some people have. We would not say that they have the love of God of darkness. What can it mean then? I would take it most likely to mean something like the love of devotion.

More can be said about agape love as we go through this series, particularly after we get started on verse 4. However, I do wish to give some general comments. To begin with, I do believe that agape is the love that makes all of the other loves better.

What about storge? As an Aspie, I am familiar with how people can do social niceties and not mean anything whatsoever by it. They just do it because that is what they are supposed to do. I don’t know how many times I heard someone come to me at work and say “How are you?” and then have them walk right on by. It always has left me with the impression of “If you don’t care, don’t ask. I’d appreciate it more.”

Of course, there could be times people really do care and I don’t realize it, but wouldn’t it be best if good manners were genuine rather than something that we do because we think we have to and aren’t going through the motions? Wouldn’t it be great if when someone at church said “I’ll pray for you” that you were sure that they meant it?

What of Phileo? Phileo is the love of friendship and we would like the friend that sticks closer than a brother. What would it mean for phileo if friends were really, well, friends? Christ told us that there was no greater love than that a man would lay down his life for his friends. Do we have that kind of love?

And eros love? What would it mean if sex was more focused on the joy that one person could bring the other than in the joy that person received from the other? Now I do know that you do have to in part focus on your pleasure as well so your spouse can know the best way to please you, but that should not be the focal point. If you are both focused on the love of the other, then will you not find your own pleasure that way?

Agape improves everything. Devotion to that which is good in proper proportion is always good. Let us make sure we are doing both. We should only devote ourselves to that which deserves devotion. We should also not devote ourselves to that thing if we make it greater than what it is. As wonderful as your spouse is, don’t make an idol out of them. My wife and I regularly make sure to state that we are each other’s #2 in life. God is our #1.

Next time, we shall start going through the text.