This is what God gave me today in His word:
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. (1 Corinthians 13:1)
Now, I’m not sure if you’ve ever heard a gong or a cymbal, but a gong makes an extremely loud, ringing nose; depending on how loud you hit it, it virtually drowns out all other instruments, and forces you to look at itself. A cymbal isn’t really any better: it makes a loud metallic sound, and if not combined with other instruments, can get extremely annoying… And Paul is saying that, if he speaks in tongues, but has not love, he’s like these instruments: loud, annoying, and in general off doing his own thing. Thus making love, all the more important. Yet, what exactly is love? Is that a question that can even be answered?
Paul gave us the opposite of what love would look like when he talked about clanging cymbals, etc. so, with that in mind, let’s look at what the opposite of a noisy gong/clanging cymbal would be:
- Something that harmonizes with other instruments.
- Something that doesn’t draw attention to itself, but instead contributes to making the song sound its best.
Love doesn’t draw attention to itself: it instead finds its proper place, and works to the glory of God (to make the song sound its best). It’s always “in harmony” with other believers. Even though Paul continues to describe it in the verses after this one, but we’ll stick with these for now.
Love Doesn’t Draw Attention To Itself
What is it we typically think of when we think of love? Perhaps we think of people sharing flowers, a wedding, something along those lines. Yet it’s much more than that. Love is something that makes us not want to draw attention to ourselves, but instead to become neon signs pointing towards the ultimate display of love: Jesus’ death for us. Love doesn’t aim to be the famous singer or actor (not that those things are wrong), it aims, instead, to be the brightest light for Jesus.
Love Harmonizes With Other Believers
Love doesn’t go off and do its own little thing, in an effort to make an Earthly name for itself. Rather, it joins with others for the furthering of the kingdom of God. Love makes us know our place in the body, and not try to become an eye, or an ear, or for that matter a foot. Instead, it makes us be content with where God has placed us, and work as hard as possible to bring Him more glory in the position that we’re in.
Now that we’ve looked at love from the standpoint of an instrument, let’s review the greatest display of love, ever:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
For God so loved the World, He sent His one and only son, Jesus Christ, to die a horrible, gruesome, bloody death on a cross. This is love in its purest essence: someone leaving riches and fame, in fact, leaving Paradise itself, in order to further (or, to be more accurate, in order to actually start) the Kingdom of God. Not only that, but the way in which Jesus did it, makes it impossible for us not to worship Him. He descended from on High to die for us! There’s no way we could ever have a love like His. However, we can still have love. We can still serve God, though not as Jesus did, and we should be doing so to the best of our feeble, human ability.
Why it is that marriages break? The married couple didn’t have love, and their goal wasn’t to further the kingdom of God as much as possible. Why is it Churches fail? Because those Churches didn’t have love. In every area of life, love is vital. Weather that area is marriage, family in general, Church, a social group, work, or anywhere else: love is key. Yet the unbeliever doesn’t and cannot have this love; this is obvious to all, to matter what area of life they en-devour to succeed in. Yes, anyone can put on a good face and smile, but that doesn’t matter if the heart doesn’t have love in it. We can see this by simply looking at any “dysfunctional” family out there. It’s only by coming to Christ, that we get the ability to love others. It’s only by coming and finding Jesus’ incredible love, that we ourselves are infused with it.
God is incredible; He’ll never stop giving. If any ask Him for His love, He will give it. If any ask for strength, He will give it. God is rather like a bank, but we don’t have to deposit anything in Him in order to continually draw strength and love from Him. He is all-powerful; and He is all-giving, in that He’s more than willing to give His children strength to overcome, and love to serve Him better. Yes, sometimes we forget to ask for His strength, and fall to temptation. Yet God is all-forgiving too! God is the purest personification of love that there is; He is also the purest personification of justice, and of every other emotion (before the fall) known to humankind. Let’s worship Him; and while we do so, let’s also make a withdraw on some of that strength and love that He offers freely.
You are Loved!