Love never fails. Have you ever contemplated that? Love never fails.
But not the Hollywood kind, not the emotional kind that you felt on your first date. Agape love isn’t based on emotion. Actually, Agape love has nothing to do with our emotions Many churches place great importance on many things, but fail in the area of Agape love.
Prophesies will fail because we are human and do not always see things clearly. Many a good man – even true a prophet – thought he heard from the Lord and yet missed the target. We are not perfect yet. Prophesies will sometimes fail.
Tongues will cease. One day we will get to heaven and no longer need to use a heavenly language to pray because we will be perfected and know the mind of the Spirit!
Knowledge will vanish as we arrive in Heaven and all things will be suddenly clear to us. But until then we are temporal beings. We rely on past experiences and present situations to arrive at certain conclusions. At times those conclusions are accurate, many times they are not. Because “we know in part and prophesy in part”.
This is why it is so very important that we are quick to love, slow to judge and slow to anger. Sadly, it is rare that we see this evident among the people of God – but before we point a finger at this or that congregation, let us remember that even in this we are not perfect.
God is perfect and He longs for His perfect love to flow through us to our brothers and sisters in Christ and a world in need. Yet, He chooses to use flawed vessels to pour out that love. While it would be ideal for every church to display every aspect of Agape love exactly as it is described in 1 Corinthians 13, what is reality is that we are apt to fail. This is where we must rely on God’s grace to pick up where we fall!
We should not allow our imperfections to become an excuse for not trying. Even so, let us not be too hard on ourselves and our brothers and sisters in Christ when we fail to display love as we ought. One day, all of what we perceive, know, conclude, judge and discern will come to an end.
If there is one thing we have realized in digging through1 Corinthians 13, it is that this special kind of love, Agape love, must be learned.
It is not genetic. It is not imparted by the laying on of hands. It is not a free gift – as salvation is.
It is a discipline that must be learned and practiced every day for the rest of our lives. This requires maturity and maturity requires discipline. They go hand in hand.
The best time to start learning and teaching Agape love is from the earliest age possible.
I always find it rather amusing when a parent tries to convince me that children truly want to be good (but for whatever reason, fail to achieve that goal) or that their child was so good that they didn’t need much discipline. I find it amusing because the Bible says just the opposite. We are all born sinful creatures, from the moment we enter the world we are in dire need of a Savior.
And there is no greater evidence of this fact that a child who has entered toddlerhood with shouts of “no!”, temper-tantrums, and other physical displays of rebellion, defiance and anger. And parents sit back in utter amazement while wondering, “Where did he learn that????” He didn’t have to learn that – it was already there inside of him when he was born.
What a child must learn is proper behavior. A child doesn’t learn to be selfish – but he must learn to share. A child doesn’t learn to throw temper-tantrums, but he must learn to control his emotions. A child doesn’t learn to spit his food out, but he must learn to eat what is set before him.
In the same way – a child must learn to love with God’s kind of love. And so must we! It is just a whole lot easier to learn it as a child than as an adult! And when we mature as adults, we hope that we have learned better how to employ Agape love in our lives.
Just as it is very unattractive to see an adult behaving as a child (and sadly, we see that all too often!), it is unpleasant to encounter those who choose not to love God’s way.
A church that engages in learning to love God’s way and disciplines herself to act and think the way agape love demands, is a church that has truly matured.
It is time we put away childish displays of selfish pride and learn to love with agape love. To make the choice to practice agape love is to take the first step in Christian maturity.
Your church needs that and the world needs that!
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