Pursue Love

love in the bible devotional



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Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts. . . (1 Corinthians 14:1 NKJV).

When I was reviewing my first draft of my book, Godly Freedom: Christian Devotional Readings from 1 Corinthians, I realized that I skipped 1 Corinthians chapter 14. As I read back through it, I understood why – it’s not an easy chapter to draw from when it comes to devotional readings!

This chapter is probably one of the most controversial ones in the Bible. On one hand, you have charismatics pointing out Paul’s words in verse five, “I wish you all spoke in tongues,” or his words in verse 18, “I thank my God that I speak in tongues more than you all,” or best of all, “Do not forbid to speak in tongues” found in verse 39.

Those who aren’t charismatically inclined may latch on to the last words in the chapter, “decently and in order” as they rail against churches that are known to be on the high end of the “lively” scale.

While it’s easy to get hung up on the things in this chapter that tend to divide Christians into different camps, the primary focus of this chapter must be the way the chapter starts – pursue love.

A key way that believers can pursue love is by doing things in such a way that the church is edified. Instead of seeking to receive when you go to church, focus on what you can give and how you can bless others.

It’s important to understand that the argument against tongues in this chapter isn’t so much against tongues as it is in favor of the public use of other gifts that serve to edify the church. If the goal is to edify self (which is appropriate when you’re alone), tongues are good. But in the context of the local church, rather than focusing on self and speaking in tongues in a public setting in a chaotic way, it’s better to pursue love by exercising gifts that edify the entire church.

Everyone has something to contribute. None of us should make a habit of showing up at church and sit there expecting everyone else to minister to us. Yes, there may be times when we’re especially needy and simply need to be ministered to. But as a general rule, we should go to church with a focus on how we can serve and bless others, through the use of our gifts that edify the body of Christ.

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Praying the Word

Lord, please forgive me for times when I’ve gone to church with the focus being on how you can bless me, rather than how I can bless others. Help me to seek to be a blessing to everyone around me, and in love, put others ahead of myself.

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Applying the Word

The next time you go to church, consider how you can show love to others. Be creative in this! It can be anything from giving up your favorite seat or the nearest parking space to encouraging the worship leader whose style of music you don’t like. While seeking to serve others, also be open to receiving from those who reach out to you in love.

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2 Comments

  • Kevin Cullis

    December 15, 2015

    Rebecca, chapter 12 and 14 are bookends to chapter 13, the love chapter!!

    You find that God has made us ALL for a purpose.

    1 Cor 12:17-18 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, JUST AS HE DESIRED.

    No one is without worth to God, but Man’s ego gets caught elevated instead of everyone’s soul.

    1 Cor 12:21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”

    We ALL are needed, but Christian egos need to be servant to the soul and love. Love our neighbor AS ourselves, not FOR or INSTEAD of ourselves. We’re to see our bothers and sisters as EQUAL in God’s eyes, to serve ALONGSIDE each other to glorify Him.

    Paul starts his thought here:

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

    And ends here:

    1 Cor 13:13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the GREATEST of these is love.

    It’s not our SPIRITUAL gifts, but the gifts of faith, hope, and love that are to be pursued wholly and fully. Love is the motivation for our talents and gifts and how to use them.

    Thank you for this post. If I had not read it I would have NOT learned this today. I needed it.

    Thanks SO much.

    • Rebecca Livermore

      December 23, 2015

      Wow, Kevin, thanks for yet another thoughtful, and thought-provoking comment! I love the way that you’ve looked at this in context — something we all need to do. Nicely done!

      Have a Merry Christmas, Kevin!

      Rebecca