“And now I will show you the most excellent way. If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love,” [1 Corinthians 13:1-13]
The “most excellent way” really is love -but not as the world loves. Love, real love, is the very nature of God. God Himself is love. How He acts, what He does, why He created us, why the world exists –these are all an expression of His love. Everything that is wrong, corrupt and sinful in this world is the antithesis of God’s nature and does not reflect His love. The world’s definition of love is usually an expression of self-gratification or selfishness. But this is not at all love. As a Ukrainian friend once told me, “I have never, ever seen a better definition of love anywhere than the one found in 1 Corinthians 13. As we read these words, we truly begin to understand that the nature of God is so completely foreign to us unless we allow God’s nature by the power of His Spirit to recreate us in His image. To become loving creatures again, to reflect the nature and image of God in ourselves, we need God’s love. His love must supercede and swallow up every nuance of our former perceptions of love. We must allow God’s love to retrain how we think, what we pursue and how we live each day. And this nature, this new nature that reforms us into new creations in Christ, learns to put self second and everyone else, especially God, higher than ourselves. The nature of God within us calls us to love others more than ourselves. Your needs become more important than my needs. And when God reigns in our hearts, it doesn’t become taxing or burdensome to help others because our perspective is God’s perspective. It’s O.K. to be insulted. We don’t have to always get what we want. We don’t need to be recognized or rewarded by people for every good deed that we do. There is something greater than us. There is a purpose, ideal and reason for living that supercedes us. And everything that we do becomes a service to God. And then the world can also see God.
The time may be very short before Christ returns for the Church. The wise can see it. The world is reeling as if in labor pains, awaiting the delivery of the children of God. Perfection is coming. We are not perfect yet but we are holy. We do not always reflect God’s nature as we should but His Spirit lives in us as a guarantee of what is to come. And when the Day finally comes, we will see everything clearly. Hang in there. Things are about to get very severe. As the moral landscape around us continues to plunge into darkness, the geophysical landscape will also change drastically. And as hearts grow increasingly harder, God will remind the world more frequently and in greater measures of severity that He is God. He loves us, and He certainly loves us enough to remind us of His holiness because the eternal state of many is at stake. Many in the world today do not fear God. But the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. So as children who are dearly loved by an amazing Father, love. Love as He does. Perfect love casts out fear. We fear God because His is Almighty. We certainly know that His wrath can flare up in an instant. But we are not destined for His wrath. But remain faithful to the end. Stand for the Savior who loved us so much that He laid down His live to save us. Love God and people with the full measure of God. And beware of the devil’s clever schemes to interrupt expressions of God’s love. As 1 John 2:15-17 says, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world -- the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does -- comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” Remain faithful to the very end. Love the way God does, the “most excellent way.” This world will pass away –and death is never a pretty picture. And as disasters in the world increase, we have an obligation to show the world the most excellent way. God loves people and He loves them enough to try and get their attention before it is too late. Eternity is at stake. So hang on and remember that the promises of God are certain. Get ready to love people a lot because God’s people need to be ready when disaster strikes. Sometimes it takes a tragedy before people will begin to listen to the Living God, but tragedy opens the door to love as God does. Love is the Most Excellent Way.
Love in Jesus,