If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.(1 Corinthians 13:1–3, ESV)
“Have not love.” Paul says it three times, so that his message is very clear. Even if we have these amazing abilities and do generous and sacrificial actions, if we “have not love” we are just noise.
I can be the best humanitarian, or the most sacrificial martyr, but if I don’t have love, it’s all nothing. God is so clear that we must have the right motive—love. He tells us plainly that if we do not have love, there is no gain from anything we do.
In his first letter, the apostle John reveals how serious he is about believers loving each other:
If we love our brothers and sisters who are believers, it proves that we have passed from death to life. But a person who has no love is still dead. (1 John 3:14, NLT)
Then later he tells us of the reward of abiding in God’s love:
So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. (1 John 4:16, ESV)
In your friendships, are you just a noise? Do you give to the poor, but you don’t actually have compassion for them? Do you look like a sacrificial Christian while inwardly you’re filled with bitterness? Believer, please get serious about your love for others. Take the love test. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being low and 10 being high, how is your patience, your kindness, your willingness to bear all things, your hope and endurance?
Lord, I know that at times in my life I “have not love.” I need you to help me love those around me. And show me how to abide in your love. . . . Continue praying.