Transforming Power of the Love of God
First Corinthians 13 has become most well known as a passage read at marriage ceremonies. It gives us a beautiful picture of love worked out in our lives. But the passage should not be exclusively applied to marriage. The description of love should impact every area of our lives as we live out God’s mission.
We should copy God. “Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children. And walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God” (Ephesians 5:1–2). The imitation of God is to serve as a fragrant offering. I’m afraid many of us merely pretend to be an offering. We’re great at praising God after a storm has passed, but God calls us to live as children who imitate their loving father, regardless of circumstances.
We are also to walk with God in spite of our past. In John 4, Jesus goes out of His way to meet an anonymous Samaritan woman at a well. Once she is confronted and changed by the presence of Christ, her first impulse is to be missional. She goes into the village where she was most likely an outcast and declares, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could this be the Messiah?” (John 4:29). And to her delight, they did.
God compels us with love, convinces us with truth, and indwells us so He can speak through us to the lost. This indwelling life of Christ manifests itself through the way we live and the way we love. “We plead on Christ’s behalf, ‘Be reconciled to God.’ He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:20–21).
The way of Jesus is contrary to what we naturally desire. Our fleshly nature refuses to love those we find unworthy. It’s only Christ in us that changes us and makes us see people as God sees them and to live a new life of compassion for both the saved and the lost (see Matthew 22:35–40).