1 Corinthians 13:1-3
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
We often talk about 1 Corinthians Chapter 13 as, “The Love Chapter.” We treat it as some disembodied dissertation of brotherly love; when we do that we are somewhat misapplying it, to tell the truth. Paul had a point, other than just talking about brotherly love. Paul was addressing some very real problems in the Corinthian church, with very real ramifications.
In an earlier devotional we covered how Jesus said that all of God’s commandments hang on love: love for God and love for our fellow man. In other words, if we love correctly, we will do the other things as a natural outflow of that love; conversely if we do not love we cannot really do those other things.
Paul was addressing a group of people who were actually doing things; the church at Corinth was wonderfully blessed with an overflow of spiritual gifts. They had them all and they had them in abundance. So, this chapter has to be taken in it’s context to really reap the full meaning.
What was the problem in the Corinthian church? It wasn’t their doctrine; Paul hardly even talked to them about doctrine. It wasn’t gifts; they were overflowing with spiritual gifts. So, the church was full of good doctrine and full of gifts of The Spirit; the problem was that they were empty of love. They were thinking and doing, but not loving.
The point is, nothing we might do is worth anything without the right motivation. The wrong motivation is to be doing great things under the power of our flesh. The right motivation is to be doing things under the power of the Holy Spirit, as the fruits of the Spirit. One, of the fruits of the Spirit, perhaps the biggest one, is love.