Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13:13
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Reflection: Regaining Love’s Highest Meaning
By Jada Swanson
Love is one of the most overused words in the English language, and for many it is hard to define. Perhaps this is because of its overuse. In the literature, music, and advertising of pop culture, the word is used to mean just about everything except what the Bible intends for it to mean. Sadly, even Christians are easily misled into thinking love is primarily a feeling. Yet, it is so much more.
Love is not only an essential attribute for Christ-Followers to cultivate in one’s life, but it is an action for us to generously express to all. It should govern all of our relationships, especially those with whom we strongly disagree. In this current season, the need for genuine, Christ-like love is critical.
In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul is using the Greek word Agape. Although it was rarely used in ancient manuscripts, Agape was used by the early Christians to refer to the self-sacrificing love of God for humanity. They were committed to reciprocating and practicing this love towards God and among one another, not only inside of the church, but in every aspect of their lives.
Agape is the best because it is the kind [of love] God has for us and is good in all circumstances. — C.S. Lewis, Letters of C.S. Lewis
In the Corinthian church of Paul’s day, and our churches today, strong polarization exists between people of different denominations and tribes, as well as Christians of varying political persuasions and beliefs. Still, we are called to live and love as Jesus did.
Jesus expressed this type of love to humanity when He sacrificially gave his life, so that we might have the gift of eternal life. As God’s children, this Jesus-kind of love should season all that we do. In its absence, all people hear is an irritating sound, instead of the heart of our message.
Today, my prayer is that we may we express this love everywhere we find ourselves and to all with whom we come in contact. No strings attached. No conditions. No preconceived notions. Rather, generously lavishing Agape upon each person within our unique spheres of influence, so all might catch a glimpse of this Jesus for whom we live, love, and serve.
*We are thankful to have Jada as a new board member and a contributing author. Follow her on Twitter: @jadabswanson. — John
The Prayer Appointed for the Week
Lord of all power and might, the author and giver of all good things: Graft in my heart the love of your Name; increase in me true religion; nourish me with all goodness; and bring forth in me the fruit of good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.