The practical lessons to the Corinthians and to the Philippians are appropriate words of wisdom for us as Christians today. While showing concern for the Philippians, Paul expressed gratitude and affection for them followed by a prayer that their love would abound and that their holiness would increase. The word of God also tells us that Paul prayed with joy (Philippians 1:4). In the famous thirteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians, Paul describes the more excellent way of charity and love. He continues by letting us know that love never fails. Prophecies will cease, tongues will be stilled and knowledge will pass away.
What is God’s way to love others? God’s laws show us how we are to care more for others than for ourselves. The love of God does not keep score of the sins of others, but takes pleasure in the flowering of truth. With hearts of love, we trust God always and we must continue to look for the best in others! In Philippians 4:4, Paul advised them to “Rejoice in the Lord always” which may cause some of us to think that was probably easy for Paul to have said because he never had our problems. When Paul wrote these words, he was in prison with no chance of release. For him, with a heart full of love for others, he understood that joy comes from devoting ourselves to interests bigger than our own.
Spiritual gifts without love are worthless. Love is supreme because it lasts forever according to Paul’s teachings. Is it true that love cannot be measured by actions alone? Motives must also be assessed to determine what love is. How does our love show care for others? We lovingly care when we esteem the needs of those in our presence greater than our own. Love believes the best of others and hopes the best for them! Caring for the burdens of others helps us to forget about our own problems. He has prepared us as Christians and He makes us ready to care for others when He leads us to be used in some loving way.
Jesus is the perfect example of the love that is described in 1 Corinthians 13. As we look to Him, we learn that we are loved and we learn how to love others and ourselves. We may never have an answer for every question, but we need the courage from God, the confidence and conviction to share our love for Christ and the hope that is in us! Christ is the ultimate answer to life’s greatest questions. Let us continue to ask God to help us to love with both words and deeds, to reach out to others in their needs and continue demonstrating acts of kindness that show others real love.
Can we through love serve one another? Paul’s epistle to the Galatians tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves (Galatians 5:13-14). As we apply God’s word to our hearts, let us keep in mind that God has given us guidelines to help us grow in our love for Him and in our concern for others. What enabled Paul to maintain such spiritual fervor? He had been captured by the love of Christ. The courage of Jesus was real to Paul and his life was consumed with the love of Christ. When possible, read Paul’s life story in Acts 7-28. Other details about him are found throughout the New Testament, especially in the thirteen epistles that he wrote. If any of us has forsaken the love and feelings of concern that we have had for others, it is not too late to ask the Lord to help us regain the courage to care!
Mrs. Gladys R. McElmore, a resident of Norfolk’s Middle Town Arch Community, is a New Journal and Guide Freelance Contributor on religion. She is a native of Essex County, Va.