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Week 5: And the Greatest of These Is Love!

The people of God are journeying from Easter to Pentecost! Along the way, Christ Church Nashville will be posting short meditations on the Holy Spirit for you to use in your personal quiet times, or to read aloud with your family and friends. Let’s consecrate Pentecost 2015 as a season of expectation—a Holy Spirit advent—as we walk the road together. 

These meditations are excerpted from a book by Pastor Dan and Pastor Hunter called The Road to Pentecost. It is available for free in our bookstore or to download here.

IF YOU HAVE EVER GONE to the Scriptures to search for what the Bible has to say about the work of the Holy Spirit, you’ve likely found yourself in I Corinthians 12 and 14. In these two chapters, we learn a good deal about tongues, prophecy, and other dramatic gifts of the Holy Spirit.

If you have ever gone to a wedding, chances are you have heard the famous love passage in Scripture from I Corinthians 13. “Love is patient, love is kind…”

The point here is that I Corinthians 13 is right smack in the middle of I Corinthians 12 and 14. In the midst of very specific teaching about the use of prophecy, tongues, miracles, healings, discernment, and words of knowledge, Paul found it necessary to push the pause button and reflect on the all-important topic of love. By writing about love in the middle of writing about tongues and prophesy, Paul keeps the main thing the main thing.

At the end of the day, everything will pass away except for three things: faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is love (I Corinthians 13:13). Tongues will stop. Prophesy will cease. But love remains forever.

Love is the most important work of the Holy Spirit. Focus on love. Pray that the Holy Spirit would plant all of the gifts inside of you but especially pray that the Holy Spirit would increase your capacity to love God and to love others.

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.

When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. (I Corinthians 13)

Father, fill us with love. Love for you and love for our neighbors. We pray that you would make us into a people that are known by our love.