A More Excellent Way
The Bible says that of all the gifts and blessings of God, love is the greatest. It is specifically stated by the Apostle Paul in his unforgettable words: “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (I Corinthians 13:13) In the first three verses of this chapter Paul powerfully points out the utter uselessness of gifts exercised without love. He goes so far as to say that great acts of faith and bravery, even to the point of giving one’s body to be burned, are worthless without love.
Verses four through seven find Paul personifying love as one who exhibits and demonstrates the qualities of genuine love. The picture he paints suggests a description of Christ Himself. In each place where we read, love is, love does, loves does not, we could substitute the name of Christ. We therefore conclude that the love of Christ is very patient and kind. It is never jealous or envious. Love never brags or acts in a proud manner. Another thing to note is that love is never haughty or selfish or rude. WOW! The list goes on. Love does not demand its own way. Being irritable or touchy is not an expression of love. Like Christ, love does not hold grudges. Love grieves over injustice and rejoices whenever truth wins out.
Verse seven gets really personal. The Living Bible puts it plainly; “If you love someone you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost. You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him, and always stand your ground in defending him.”
This great love chapter is described as “a more excellent way.” Love is the dynamic term Paul uses to speak of the holy life enabled by the fulness of the Holy Spirit. This love takes into account both motive and deed. As we mature in Christ, such love should more and more characterize our lives.