1 Corinthians 13:1 | World Challenge

1 Corinthians 13:1

November 2, 2019

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.


Devotional Thoughts

By Gary Wilkerson

Religious people have a tendency to focus on the darkness rather than the light. I hear so many Christians spouting bitter words: “The culture is to blame,” or “The government is at fault,” or “That special interest group is a negative influence.” If you walk as Jesus did, you won’t curse the darkness because you are focused on the light you bring. Let me illustrate.

Imagine sitting in a church service when the lights suddenly go out and the entire place is plunged into total darkness. If a maintenance worker turns on just one small light in that room, it is immediately seen by everyone in the congregation, no matter where it’s placed. Friend, that is a picture of you in a totally darkened world. No matter how vast the dark space may be, your light can be seen by everyone in the vicinity. It cannot be hidden, so let it shine! Then there is no need to be caught up in anguished conversations about our culture.

This kind of walk not only moves you out of religious mode but transports you into the love of Jesus. That never happens as a result of religious performance. As John reminds us, “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

If we try to accomplish the work of God in our own strength, apart from his love, there won’t be any power behind it. Paul points out, “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).

By contrast, Christ’s love gives us a pulpit everywhere, with the everlasting power of heaven behind it: “Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect [love] comes, the partial will pass away” (13:8-10).