1 Corinthians 14:1-40 from June 2
So one of the biggest take-aways from this lovely letter of Paul’s to the Corinthian church is that we are to pursue love, but desire spiritual gifts. The gifts just give us a way of serving that is not totally draining. The greatest thing we are to do is to seek to love for the greater edification of others (not our own satisfaction). And with that in mind we are to seek especially to prophesy or to speak God’s truth. Speaking God’s truth is a key part of love.
Honestly this does not sound like the way a lot of people would define love today. There are no awesome superlatives or adjectives connected to its practice. No selfies. No one’s ego being inflated. No one having sex or making demands about whom they can have sex with or how they can have sex.
Just people being filled up with God’s Spirit, then loving others... meeting needs in unassuming ways. How did Paul ever show love without social media? How was love ever expressed except in the context of consenting adults having sex?
Related to this, speaking in tongues often gets a bad rap, when in reality it isn’t the gift of tongues that is in the wrong – it’s operator error. So many good things get distorted by operator error. Like….love. So actually, our love will be informed by our spiritual gifts. Or will our spiritual gifts be informed by our love? We dare not throw out the gifts because some misuse them. Be zealous for spiritual gifts and use them for the building up of the church. That is our exhortation – for the Church. Paul tells us not to be like children in our thinking (stop being so immature). If you’re drawing attention to yourself, you’re misusing your gift. Or maybe the idea of love.
In the same way, we have to have a more mature understanding of what love is. The truth is rarely is having sex associated with love in the Bible. It is of course in the good old Song of Solomon, but rarely anywhere else. One would think the way sex is linked to the idea of love in our culture that the two are somehow inseparable. Well they are separable and very much should be. What if a person can no longer have sex… are they incapable of loving? Of course not. How did we let this train run so far from the station? This train of what it truly means to love? This culture’s definitions of love might be one of our own biggest distractions to showing love to people or to people receiving love. There are a lot of people who have been misled to think they are not loved because they do not fit some sexual identity or are not having sex. What about when people grow old and can no longer have sex? Or when they become sick?
Love actually has very little to do with sex. Instead of believing you must do something you can’t do or be something you’re not, why not get in tune with God’s definition of love? It starts and ends with Him.
We know we are loved because God loves us, apart from anything we can or can’t do and based on the fact we’re made in the image of God. By His grace, He loves us and continues to love us even when we sin or disappoint Him.
When we are in tune with God’s definition for love we can actually love our neighbor and our enemy, and no consent is needed. We love, because He first loved us.
How is it we always find a way to distort God’s good and perfect gifts?