Summary: God's love and how to realize it for yourself

“Love – the Greatest of all”

February 10, 2013

1 Corinthians 13

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

This coming week is a pretty significant week of love at our house. First, we will celebrate Bob’s 92nd Birthday, then Valentine’s Day is the anniversary of Julie’s and my engagement 41 years ago, then on Saturday we are having the “Wilden Family Celebration”. We weren’t able to have a Christmas party this year because everyone was so busy, so we decided to have a party this week instead. It’s just another way to say “We CARE about one another. We’re family.”

So it is a week of love. I like that. I like the fact that Valentine’s Day comes in February. Where I great up in the cold North Country of Minnesota, February was a bitter cold month. We couldn’t get outside much and play, so we got pretty tired of being cooped up in the house. The days were short and the nights were long. Christmas was a distant memory. The lights and colors of Christmas were long gone. We were getting a strong dose of ‘Spring Fever’! Then along came Valentine’s Day! It kind of saved the day. We decorated with red hearts and baked cookies for parties and planned who that special someone would be that we gave our best valentine to.

Have you noticed that our year is broken up with celebrations of love? Valentine’s Day starts it, then comes Easter – which is a celebration of love for God, then Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and July Fourth, the celebration of love for Country. Thanksgiving Day is a celebration of God’s love for us expressed in how He has blessed us, then comes Christmas, the Celebration of God coming down to Earth to provide salvation for us. You can throw in Memorial Day and Labor Day and a few that I may have missed – but to me, they are celebrations of love. Why do you think that is so important? I’ll tell you. We are created to be loved and love. Some theologians think that God made man because He needs a special creation on which to bestow His love. I’m not sure I agree with that entirely, but I do believe we were created with this huge need to be loved. We all need love, don’t we? Sometimes we think we are loners or don’t need anyone else – but truth be told – living without love is an unhappy way to live. In fact, life in not worth living for many people without love.

Now, I am not saying you have to be in a romantic relationship to be happy. Some people find fulfillment in expressing their love to God and serving others. Some people substitute their job or a hobby or sport or some other thing for a romantic love. But bottom line is that we were created to be loved. God made us this way. God made us to have a deep need; a deep yearning; a deep desire to be loved. And the Good News is that we are. The greatest love story of all is that God loves you. The best known and best loved Scripture in the Bible is,

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