Love has many forms. True love, puppy love, cat love, friendship love—love can be twisted into almost every size, shape, and direction. Love has varying intensities, and rightly so, for it would not do for us to love our mom the same way we love chocolate. Love should characterize Christians as light characterizes the sun; yet anyone can love, even someone as despicable as Judas Iscariot. So then it is not love that distinguishes us from unbelievers, but it's the type of love that sets us apart.
Ten million words couldn't describe this love. Only a god could expound on such love, and He did in only thirteen verses.
“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)
Before God could expound on love, He must first lay the foundation of its importance. He never said we'd be less of a Christian if we had no love, but that we are nothing without it. An unloving Christian is not a Christian at all. Love is a Christian’s heart and without it we are just dead robots who have no hope or feelings. “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen,” (1 John 4:20).
Good works should not be substituted for love any more than baking soda should be substituted for flour. Like baking powder, they are a necessary ingredient in our lives but they should not constitute the base, unless you want others to gag. But is it possible for good works to done apart from love? Yes. Sometimes a person donates just because they see that everyone else is being charitable. Some people go to church just because they always have and their good works become mindless routine. However, usually good deeds are done in love—love of self. If I rescue an infant from a burning house so I can get my face in the newspaper or if I travel to Asia as a missionary only to hear “Isn't she so godly?” my sacrifices become filthy rags.
Sound doctrine is essential to our faith. We'd plunge into sin and temptation without it. It is the string which unites believers together, even if they live miles apart. Yet even the jewels of wisdom can become sharp and destructive if it is not set in the golden ring of love. I think God would probably have more mercy on a hateful criminal than on a hateful pastor. Even demons know the truth (James 2:19). The Ephesian church in Revelation 2:1-7 taught the truth, exposing error, but they lacked love. God threatened to remove their lampstand if their heart didn't start beating again.
Lovelessness is perhaps the greatest problem of the modern church. They shake your hand and bid you hello but their care rarely extends beyond that. It shouldn't be that way. Love is a blazing fire, not a flickering ember that blows out with the slightest breeze. A fire takes a ton of wood and love requires a ton of work to make it grow. Why is it that no one wants to take the time to gather the sticks? When we are tempted to let the fire die, let us remember that we are worthless ashes without that fire.
Mariposa is a self-taught artist and aspiring children's author who captures the glories of God's creation on paper. She has a Ph.D. in creativity and a master's degree in imagination.
Aberdeen is a book-eating, ink-drinking dinosaur from the createtus period. When he isn't falling into plot holes or taking cover from the volcano of ideas, he's hanging out with Dee-Dee the doodledactyl. Read full bio