04.14.21 | A More Excellent Way
In today’s BREAD reading from 1 Corinthians 13, Paul defines and clarifies the nature of God’s love. This is preceded by Paul’s outline of the many gifts, or manifestations, of the Spirit – including tongues, prophecy, and more – in chapter 12. He encourages the church to desire these gifts, and outlines a “more excellent way” of using them (1 Cor. 12:31).
Paul explains in chapter 13 that if these gifts of the Spirit are not motivated and regulated by love, they are meaningless, fruitless, and like a noisy gong. The true attributes of love are kindness, honor, humility, forgiveness, and self control. God’s love surpasses the gifts of the Spirit, and remains long after the gifts are forgotten. Love matures us when our knowledge and understanding are incomplete, and when life seems mysterious. The goal of all of our endeavors, even greater than faith and hope, should be love.
During today’s fasting and prayer focus, take time to reflect on the characteristics of love. Where in your life have you demonstrated kindness, honor, or humility? Ask the Lord to show you where you have partnered with Him in His love for others. Take time to give thanks for these moments.
Additionally, ask the Lord to show you where you have been unloving, angry, envious, unforgiving, or proud. As the Lord brings these moments to light, repent of them and receive His forgiveness. Allow the Lord to show you a more excellent way.
Lastly, be honest with yourself and consider if you have been unloving toward a brother or sister in your community. We encourage you to go to this person, share your heart, and how you desire to be more like Jesus in this area of loving well. Be vulnerable with them and ask for their forgiveness. And if you feel led, ask them, or another person you trust, to partner with you in this pursuit. Ask this person to call out any behavior in you that is not demonstrating love or the way of Jesus.