1 Corinthians 13 … Consider His Most Excellent Way

Now eagerly desire the greater gifts. And yet I will show you the most excellent way, (1 Corinthians 12:31 NIV).

Today’s reading continues Paul’s instructions for healthy Body life. Chapters and verses were not a part of Paul’s original writing, nor were they inspired; all of this chapter is devoted to expounding on his last sentence from the previous chapter.

But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And I show you a still more excellent way, (1 Corinthians 12:31).

The Body of Christ in Corinth was a gifted body. And their numerous spiritual gifts had actually distracted them from His greatest gift.

 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life,” (John 3:16).

It was His love that would be the greatest gift needed to interact amongst themselves and with all those still needing to hear and know the message of His love.

It wasn’t that Paul was denying the reality or need for spiritual gifts. But for every believer, every gifting must always be considered in light of His Most Excellent Way.

Consider His Most Excellent Way

…And yet I will show you the most excellent way, (1 Corinthians 12:31 NIV).

God has graciously endowed His children with supernatural, spiritual gifts, and His gifts do abound in His Body. But the greatest gift, greater than the gift of faith to move mountains, perform miracles, speak in tongues and prophesy, greater than a sacrificial lifestyle, greater than being martyred for the gospel, greater than these is love.

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, (13:1-3).

Without love all these so-called great works are as nothing. It is only by His Most Excellent Way, that we will express His gifts as He intends.

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails… (13:4-8).

  • His Most Excellent Way of Patience
    • Love is patient,
  • His Most Excellent Way of Kindness
    • love is kind
  • His Most Excellent Way of Trust
    • and is not jealous
  • His Most Excellent Way of Humility
    • love does not brag and is not arrogant
  • His Most Excellent Way of Respect
    • does not act unbecomingly
  • His Most Excellent Way of Selflessness
    • it does not seek its own
  • His Most Excellent Way of Longsuffering
    • is not provoked,
  • His Most Excellent Way of Forgiveness
    • does not take into account a wrong suffered
  • His Most Excellent Way of Purity
    • does not rejoice in unrighteousness
  • His Most Excellent Way of Righteousness
    • but rejoices with the truth
  • His Most Excellent Way of Forbearance
    • bears all things
  • His Most Excellent Way of Faith
    • believes all things
  • His Most Excellent Way of Hope
    • hopes all things
  • His Most Excellent Way of Endurance
    • endures all things
  • His Most Excellent Way of Triumph
    • Love never fails

But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love, (13:13).

Of course; love is the greatest, for God is love.

The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love, (1 John 4:8).

How do we respond to His Most Excellent Way?

I don’t know about you, but when I read His definition of love, it feels like an impossible dream. And that is a good time to remember:

And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible, “ (Matthew 19:26).

When we place our faith in Jesus Christ for our salvation, in God’s preordained purpose He begins the sanctifying work of conforming us to the image of His Son, of performing the impossible. And as His Holy Spirit works in us, our love for others will grow in maturity to behave and respond in His Most Excellent Way.

For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; (Romans 8:29).

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him, (1 John 4:7-9).

But even as we walk with Him, we know that loving like Jesus is not easy; for it flies in the face of our own propensity, so often bent towards self-centeredness to seek an even return, or better yet a profit, on any and all love we invest.

And as one who admittedly struggles with loving others, I can only share from His Word; I am certainly no expert.

But I believe the key to loving like Jesus is found in His Greatest Commandment.

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets,” (Matthew 22:36-40).

If we are loving Him with all we are, loving others will be the overflow. But the truth is, we cannot first love Him will all our heart, soul, and mind, if we have yet to experience His Love through Jesus Christ.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life,” (John 3:16).

When we believe in Jesus for our salvation, we receive His eternal life; and it is then we are awakened to His Most Excellent Way. And another truth; we cannot possibly give to others what we have not yet received ourselves.

That is why loving others is the second greatest commandment, not the first.

The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself, (Matthew 22:39).

Jesus said that the command to love others is like the command to love God. The two go hand in hand. And if we would just do that, in faith and dependence on the sanctifying work of His Holy Spirit, then obedience would be another natural overflow.

On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets,” (Matthew 22:40).

Can you imagine what our families, our churches, our communities, our nation would be like, if believers everywhere were committed to live in His Most Excellent Way?

“Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love,” (John 15:9).

Lord, we acknowledge we don’t love like You. We confess our sin of self-centeredness; we are in desperate need of Your cleansing. Our families, our churches, our communities, our nation need revival.  Please let it begin with us. May we so abide in Your Love, that You would use us to draw others to Your Most Excellent Way.

But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love, (13:13).

Let’s Grow Together!

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