Your Best Life? Joel Olsteen’s book Your Best Life Now has sold over 8 million copies and has a calendar, study guide, and a board game. My point isn’t to rail on his book. I haven’t read it, it’s just not my kind of book. But I perused the outline and that looked fine. I personally wish we would stop the criticism of everyone who isn’t us. The Devil has the accusation dept covered. I don’t like being on his side.
My point is that people are interested in how to have the best life possible. And here in 1 Corinthians 12:31, we encounter Paul’s lead of how to have it.
1 Corinthians 12:31 (NLT) So you should earnestly desire the most helpful gifts. But now let me show you a way of life that is best of all.
We need real power, real miracles, real hope, and REAL Love. If you are ready to grow. If you really desire to live in power and not effort. Then “Agape” Love in the Body of Christ is the foundation for it.
Love Makes Your Gifts Matter
1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NLT) 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. 2 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. 3 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.
Your Language Is Hollow Without Love. Where to WORDS born of Love come from.
1 John 4:19 (NLT) We love each other because He loved us first.
They come from experiencing God’s Love. Maybe that is the greatest challenge. So many don’t really believe God loves them. When we speak to each other. Preach to each other. Encourage each other. Love is the force of those words. Love carries those words and helps them land. When we don’t believe or haven’t experienced God’s Love. Our words come out… As cliches, platitudes, they don’t make sense, and they don’t help.
Your Encouragement Is Flat Without Love. Paul gives the church prophecy as a powerful, maybe the most powerful way, to build up the body of Christ. But, it must be born of love. It must be filled with Love. It must love seeing others excel, win, and succeed.
Flattery can be insulting. Affirmation isn’t enough. I think you’re great. That’s nice. But that doesn’t get me through today’s battles. The encouragement that is prophetic in nature calls us UP into God’s purpose for my life.
Your Sacrifices Are Worthless Without Love. It’s difficult to imagine someone sacrificing anything without some kind of love. To give financially beyond your means. To lay down your life. It seems love would almost have to be present. But if your sacrifices were for you, or filled with pride I suppose that could be the case.
You may have many gifts. You should discover and use your gifts, BUT… They are born of Love. The Love of God FOR You. The Love of God FROM You. God’s Love is what makes a Spiritual Gift matter. And, Agape, is simply translated as “love feast”. So, a person must “feast” upon God’s Love, in order to share God’s Love.
Love Is What You Do, Not How Your Feel
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NLT) Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
Love Isn’t About What Others Do. Other Than What Other’s Do Gives Us Opportunites To Express Love. People’s actions toward us do not control or limit our love. Not the kind of love Paul is talking about anyway.
The church’s story is filled with those who have loved their persecutors. Brother Yun writes of his experience great love for his tormenters. (Heavenly Man). Richard Wurmbrand testifies to that love as well in “Tormented for Christ”. Many stories of the same Love come out of China, North Africa, and the Middle east. If you don’t have difficult circumstances forced upon you, you can choose to love people.
Love Is A Choice We Make. Love isn’t a feeling, It’s a choice.
We choose to be patient. Have you ever need patience when things were going well? NO. We choose to be kind. Usually, when it’s the last thing we want to do. The Feelings do not control our Love or Actions. We want to be irritable, we want to keep records of wrongs, We want to demand our way. BUT WE make a different choice. We defy our feelings and we choose to love. We choose to do the opposite of what we want to do. That is real love.
Love Is The Target
1 Corinthians 13:13 – 14:1 (NLT) Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. 1 Let love be your highest goal! But you should also desire the special abilities the Spirit gives—especially the ability to prophesy.
Love LEARNS. Love is WHO God Is. When you read 1 Corinthians 13, this is what God’s Love is like. He is patient and Kind. He is NEVER proud or rude. This is WHO He is growing you to be as well. Paul tells us in Col 3 to know our Creator and become like Him.
Love BUILDS. It doesn’t enable. It doesn’t tear down unless it is to rebuild. Love is concerned with the GROWTH of the Body of Christ. Of People you go ARE the CHURCH with. Does it BUILD? Does it HELP?
Love LASTS. One day prophecies and tongues will no longer have a purpose. But Love, that’s eternal. It’s Love that will hold the eternal family of God together. It’s Love that will be our Heavenly experience. God’s Love for us, through us, Forever.
All of our efforts are wasted if we do not learn to really love the body of Christ.