But where there are prophecies…Faith, Hope, Love…the greatest of these is love.
Verses 8-12 may seem out of place in comparison to the other verses of this passage. Let’s remember, Paul is writing this letter to a church in Corinth to remind these believers that they are not to be comparing their spiritual gifts and rating them as one superior to another. God has graciously gifted believers with unique talents and gifts to encourage and strengthen the body. Every gift is necessary for the proper function of THE church. This letter was to encourage this body of believers to use their gifts through love in order to unite, not comparison that divides.
So what do these five verses have to do with the agape love we have been learning about and how do we apply this section of this passage to our own lives?
Our spiritual gifts are a temporary gifting suited for our life here on Earth. We are to use these gifts in the here and now to bring unity to the body of believers we belong to. These gifts however will be of no use when we are in Heaven in the presence of our Lord.
In Heaven there will be no need for prophecy (the revealing of things hidden); for all things will be revealed (Luke 8:17, Matthew 10:26) and the prophecy that God enlightened us with here on Earth will come to its full fruition. Here we have only a glimpse of all that God wants to reveal to us. In Heaven we will see it and experience it in its fullest.
We will share a common language in heaven so we will all understand one another. It was not until the fall of Babel that multiple languages were introduced. Scripture tells us that Israel (Isaiah 62:2), Jesus (Revelation 3:12), and we (Revelation 2:17) will be given a new name, implying a new and perfect language system.
There will come a day where we will have a fuller knowledge of who God is. No matter how knowledgeable we are here on Earth it is a very narrow knowledge in comparison to what we will instinctively know in the glory of God. We will never be omniscient like God, but in our glorified state we will have a much fuller knowledge of all things and that knowledge will never fade.
Here on Earth we are imperfect people. Even our spiritual gifts that are given to us by God can only be used in an imperfect way. We are not capable of seeing the full picture here. We see parts of God’s great plan, mere glimpses. In eternity we will finally see the full picture. It will no longer be imperfect parts, but wholly perfect.
So how does this passage pertain to us in our everyday living?
Let’s look at verse 11. “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 childish things behind me.” Paul compares our life here on Earth as when we were children, talking, thinking and reasoning like children. When we are in Heaven it will be like growing up, maturing. When we mature we put aside our childish behaviors.
As we learn and understand this agape love God calls us to we need to set aside our childish behaviors. We are to grow up in Christ, mature as His disciples. Our present life is our preparation place for eternity in Heaven with God. We will love with this love instinctively in Heaven, but we are to practice it here on Earth. Even though we are unable to see the full picture here, does not mean that we should not be preparing for what is to come. The knowledge of our glorified state is not justification to ignore the progression that must take place now.
Earth is our training ground. God gives us people to love on each and every day. He has also given us direction on how to do this. Let’s not maintain our childish ways and behaviors and miss out on the blessing of growing and transforming into who God has created us to be.
Agape love is a high calling. One we are completely incapable of doing on our own. We must rely on God to build into us this kind of love. We must trust Him to work in and through us so that this kind of love flows from us. We must humble ourselves before our Lord and be His willing vessel to shine this kind of love in a dark world.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” Love is eternal. When we see Jesus face-to-face our faith will become sight and our hope will be fulfilled. Love however will last for all eternity.
Let us experience a small taste of Heaven here on Earth. Let us love one another as God has called us to love. We will love one another for all eternity in Heaven, why not start now.
Lord, I look forward to the day where I am in Your presence. That day will be so glorious. Until then, help me to experience a small taste of that here. Help me love the way you have called me to love.