Love is a reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion that is inspired by God’s love for us and in us. Love sees all as valuable and precious, even when they do not appear to be so. If I can speak in the tongues of men and even of angels, but not love I am only a noisy gong or a clanging symbol.
And if I have prophetic powers and understand all the secret truths and mysteries and possess all knowledge, and if I have faith so that I can remove mountains, but have not God’s love in me, I am nothing – a useless nobody. Even if I dole out all that I have to the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned or in order that I may glory, but have not God’s love in me, I gain nothing.
I endure long and am patient and kind; I am never envious nor do I boil over with jealousy. I am not boastful or vainglorious, neither do I display myself haughtily. I am not conceited, arrogant or inflated with pride. I am not rude or unmannerly and I do not act unbecomingly. I do not insist on my own rights or my own way, for I am not self-seeking.
I am not touchy or fretful; I take no account of the evil done to me. I pay no attention to a suffered wrong. I do not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but I rejoice when right and truth prevail. I bear up under anything and everything that come, I am ever ready to believe the best of every person.
My hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and I endure everything without weakening. Because love never fails, I never fail. God’s love in me never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end.
As for prophecy, it will be fulfilled and pass away; as for tongues, they will be destroyed and cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For our knowledge and our prophecy is fragmentory – incomplete and imperfect, but when the complete and perfect comes, the incomplete and imperfect will vanish away.
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; now that I have become a man, I am done with childish ways and have put them aside. For now we are looking in a mirror that gives only a dim and blurred reflection of realitty as in a riddle or enigma, but then when perfection comes we shall see in reality and face to face!
Now that I know in part – imperfectly – but then I shall know and understand fully and clearly, even in the same manner as I have been fully and clearly known and understood by God. And so faith, hope, love abide. Faith is believing that what God said He would do, He will do. Hope is a joyful and confident expectation. Love is true affection for God and man, growing out of God’s love for us and in us. THE GREATEST OF THESE IS LOVE.
The greatest of these is love.