1 Corinthians 13:1-7 is such an amazing and powerful portion of the Bible. Here is the Message version of that section of scripture.
13 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
2 If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.3-7
If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere.
So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
1 Corinthians 13 is known as the “love chapter” of the Bible and has the best description, in my opinion, of the kind of love we need to have and the kinds of “Godly actions” that can get in the way of that true love. Growing up in church all my life and going to college to be a pastor, I can say that I was programed quite well to “speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy, speak God’s Word with power, have faith to move mountains and even the importance of giving to the poor and the awesome act of giving up ones life for their faith if necessary. The problem is that many times those Christian truths in my life as a follower of Christ get in the way of me just “loving like Jesus.”
I am not saying that the Godly actions above are wrong, just that the motivation behind love is what always needs to be checked. If you are a follower of Christ and working on the former things I mentioned without regarding love, then you are, as the Bible puts it, a “creaking rusty, nothing, nowhere, bankrupt individual.” I don’t want to do all the things that make me look “religious” in this life and at the same time undermine my relationship with Jesus, which is really more important than anything else to me.
I know that it is hard to love others sometimes in the world we live in but I can say that I have never regretted being motivated by love in my actions versus being motivated by anger or hate. As I have said before, if it was good enough for Jesus to love even the people nailing Him to a cross I think I could “squeak out” a few acts of love to the people around me. 🙂