Megan Evans, Women’s Ministry Director, LHBC

1 Corinthians 13:1-3  (NIV)
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

The fresh start to a new year is often a time of reflection and goal setting, but also a time to restart good habits and spiritual disciplines in our life.  January can feel a bit like a coach calling you back into the game after a sluggish season of sitting on the bench. Your mindset is ready to train hard and make plays.  And while goals and discipline can be healthy, in order to stay in the game this year in your spiritual growth, love is essential. 

1 Corinthians 13 reminds us to let God’s love motivate our attitudes and actions.  We can do lots of really great things for God, but without love, they just become noisy things we do for our self instead.  I can remember years of feeling frustrated with inconsistency in my daily quiet time with God. In all honesty, at that time reading my Bible felt more like a chore on my to-do list. And, it dawned on me one day that I was making this “chore” all about me and my schedule, instead of my love for God.  I can remember asking God to change my heart and to help me want to read His Word.  Out of that honest and simple prayer, has come many seasons of love and joy in consistently meeting with my Savior through the pages of His Word.  That is the kind of God we serve! He doesn’t just enable us to do something for Him–He changes our heart to do it with Him!  

In the early Corinthian church, Paul had identified a lack of love in their motivation for serving God. They struggled with pride and felt certain spiritual gifts were better than others.  Paul explained that their actions were empty because they lacked God’s kind of love, Agape love.  Jesus embodied Agape love and calls us to put this love into action in our life today.  

Another word for this love in action is charity. In today’s language, we often limit the use of the word “charity” to our outward actions of doing goodwill, like giving money or donating canned goods or old clothes.  But this passage calls us not only to serve, but to empty out our self and fill our attitudes and actions with Jesus. As a result, we begin to love and serve like Jesus did (even to our enemies), and our spiritual gifts begin to effectively build up the Church, the body of Christ. 

Are there areas in your spiritual life that are just noise? How do you want to grow this year?  Don’t just set a goal, go to the source-God Himself! As believers, the Spirit of God indwells in us and empowers us to display His characteristics.  Ask God to change your heart. Ask God to cultivate your spiritual gifts and use them for His glory! Seek God first in all areas of your life, and let Him show you how to actively live out His Agape love.  Let love be your motivation! 

Father God, fill me with Your love.  Reveal to me any attitudes or actions that are driven by myself rather active love for You and others.  Empty me of selfishness and grow me more like Jesus each day. In Jesus Name, Amen.  

2 Peter 3:18
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.