In 1 Corinthians chapter thirteen, often called “the love chapter,” Paul starts out by continuing his thoughts written in chapter twelve where he wrote much about “spiritual gifts” (tongues, interpretation of tongues, prophesy, healings, works of faith, miracles, etc.). In many church circles these have received a lot of attention, but dear saints, there is so much more! Paul goes on to write,
What if I could speak all languages of humans and of angels? If I did not love others, I would be nothing more than a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. What if I could prophesy and understand all secrets and all knowledge? And what if I had faith that moved mountains? I would be nothing, unless I loved others. What if I gave away all that I owned and let myself be burned alive? I would gain nothing, unless I loved others. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3 CEV)
When we abide in our Father’s seventh day of rest in heavenly places (see Hebrews 4:9-11), the “then” spoken of by Paul becomes the ever-present now for the Father with whom we dwell IN Christ is the Great I AM, not the I Was or the I Will BE. In this rest the implications of the above passage from Paul are eminence! Our former state spoken of here is “when I was a child” spiritually speaking, the “when I BECAME a man” speaks of spiritual maturity in THIS life which goes on into the next. Way too much of what is ours if we abide IN Christ has been put off in our thinking as “pie in the sky, by and by.” I believe this is because of the traditions of men in the churches led by immature leaders who have yet to entire into God’s rest, but are driven by carnal human forces (see 1 Cor. 3:1-5).
Paul continues in this famous “love chapter” to describe the attributes of God’s pure love…
Love suffers long, and is kind; love envies not; love vaunts not itself, is not puffed up, Does not behave itself rudely, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, keeps no record of evil; Rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails… (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 KJ2000)
Then Paul starts telling us the nature of a life living in and perfected by love saying,
“But when that which is perfect has come, that which is in part [spiritual gifts] shall be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I felt as a child, I reasoned as a child; when I became a man, I had done [away] with what belonged to the child. For we see now through a dim window obscurely, but then face to face; now I know partially, but then I shall know according as I also have been known. And now abide faith, hope, love; these three things; and the greater of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:10-13 Darby)
For the mature saint of God the old “now” of seeing obscurely and seeking powerful spiritual gifts — lives motivated and filtered by the lusts of that old Adam within—this kind of life is over! Our NEW life of knowing Christ and others even as WE are known by Him have now begun. What was once the “then” becomes our ever present now! It is here that ALL things become ours as we abide IN the Vine, Jesus Christ, and He abides in us. It is here that we finally start being the womb in which true spiritual fruit of the Father can take form and be brought forth into HIS kingdom. Oh, how we long for such in-depth, abiding fellowship first with the Father and the Son and then with one another. It is here that the greatest spiritual gift of all flows freely, His great gift of pure love which shines forth His presences within and gives His life to others.
Paul went on to write about this state of being saying, “For we see now through a dim window obscurely, but then face to face; now I know partially, but then I shall know according as I also have been known. And now abide faith, hope, love; these three things; and the greater of these is love.”
The old “now” of seeing obscurely– vision filtered by that old Adam within– are over! Our NEW lives of knowing Christ even as WE are known by Him have now begun. Oh, how we long for such in depth fellowship with one another in Christ wherein the greatest spiritual gift of all flows freely, His great gift of pure love!
“Father, make is so in each of us. Do what needs to be done to bring our Old Adam to naught. Make us into your broken vessels and let the sweet perfume of your love fill the whole house wherein we dwell, the very temple of God made not with hands but by you with Living stones.”
In His agape love for you all,
““Father, make it so in each of us. Do what needs to be done to bring our Old Adam to naught. Make us into your broken vessels and let the sweet perfume of your love fill the whole house wherein we dwell, the very temple of God made not with hands but by you with Living stones.”
Of a certainty, it would have to be the Lord to accomplish this miracle in this imperfect and flawed vessel, because I sure can’t change myself. The only thing I seem to be able to do is to earnestly desire to be what He wants me to be.
Thanks so much for you comment and honest observations. A new heart is what is needed (see Ezek. 36:26) in us with His NEW commandment (See Hebrews 8:10 & 13:34) written on and in it and that is why God sent His Son to establish an entirely NEW Covenant (see Hebrews 7:11-12 & 8:8,9) not based on US or OUR abilities, but upon His grace and power working in us. The power in His cross working deep within us to convict us of falling short of His glory (true meaning of the word “sin”) and to bring us to that crisis point in our lives where we cry out to be totally changed from who we are and were… transformed by being given the mind of Christ instead of the mind of Adam. When we start praying for God to do that work in us no matter WHAT the cost may be, HE will hear that prayer and move on it. Oh, the breaking, but OH what glory He shares with us once we come out the other side.
Love you in Christ, my sister,
I realize the very truth in your words, and know this is the way it must necessarily work out in our lives. The working out of the old nature and the “in” working of the Christ nature.
And only then by our realization that without Him doing that work it is impossible for any change to take place.
Jesus said, “Without me you can do nothing”, and that is so obviously true.
But because of His love, grace and patience, these changes do take place, as we desire to follow on to know Him in a greater measure. Changes most of the time occuring through painful struggles, and the fires of purification. And always, as you mentioned, through a crisis point when we cry out to the Lord,that no matter what the cost, we, by and act of love for Him, will to lay down our will to His.
It took several years as a new believer for me to realize when I gave my heart and love to Jesus, that He was going to require more than that from me, but that I was no longer to have a ‘right’ to do anything other than give my will over to him.
Love you in the Lord as well,
You wrote, “But because of His love, grace and patience, these changes do take place, as we desire to follow on to know Him in a greater measure. Changes most of the time occurring through painful struggles, and the fires of purification. And always, as you mentioned, through a crisis point when we cry out to the Lord, that no matter what the cost, we, by and act of love for Him, will to lay down our will to His.”
As I read this the following passage came to mind…
“Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. Then shall we know, [if] we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter [and] former rain unto the earth.” (Hosea 6:1-3 KJV)
Oh, What a promise and what love He has for us! He doesn’t tare us for the sake of punishment, but rather He opens us up to clean out our festering wounds suffered in the house of our friend, so that we might be healed. He then revives us, bringing us up out of the coma of our spiritual wildernesses, and raises us up unto Himself as His bride where we live IN and WITH His sight. We shall know Him even as we are known by Him, IF we follow on to know… always following Him and ever learning of His ways in a most intimate way. He comes to us as a refreshing rain on a spring day and constantly washes us as His cherished bride. Oh, what a great salvation!!!
A beautiful God-breathed article, my brother!
Susanne, thank you so much. This means a lot to me to hear it from you. May you also be inspired to continue posting on Google Plus your insights on His kingdom Life and Love flowing from within.
Love you IN the Son,
Thanks soooo much for this, Michael!!
Love you in Him,
I love what Scarlett said in her comment–I cant think of a better way to put it–and thanks a million for your post–you remind me of T. AUSTIN SPARKS when you say–oh–he used to say that a lot.
Kenneth, to be compared to brother Sparks in any way is a high compliment to me. I know of no other author in this last century that so comprehended the nature of what it means to become the sons of God and what TRUE fellowship in the Father and the Son looks like. Thank you, my brother.
Amen Michael! Beautiful word of depth and truth.
Thank you, my old friend… well not as old as me, though. 🙂 I need to get on over to your FaceBook wall and see what Father has been giving you to share, lately! It is always good! Here is Mike’s Facebook:
Thank you for your last four posts brother! This one especially enlightened joy and deep thought for me. We all are so needy of Fathers love and to be healed very deeply by Him. Without doubt being made perfect in His love, really moving on beyond all our pains, trials, pasts, to a mature place is so needful. Your explanation of “the partial” being our carnal attitude toward gifts, as opposed to the greatest gift of all, His perfect love abiding in our moment by moment experience, was incredibly clear. May the obscurity be vanquished. Love you Brother.
What a delight to get to read on this site. Michael, your words are treasures as you review 1 Cor. 13, and encourage us on to maturity. The replies are also very rich. I sense that I have entered into a prayer meeting as I read through. I believe that nothing sets us more free than agape love. My prayer is Lord put agape love in me, not for selfish reasons(as everything can become selfish with me) but for the glory of God, and the good of others.
My heart is refreshed, love to each of you.
Very well said, Pat. As always. Your comments are refreshing and open, flowing from a sincere heart that is grounded in the Lord. Thank you!
Much love to you!!
Thank you Susanne for your encouragement.
This is so true! God is love and we as humans only have the capacity to love as He fills our hearts with Himself. Jesus told us that even the “Gentiles” who are evil, knows how to give good gifts to their children, but only His love shed in our hearts is true godly love and we will only be capable of loving others and our enemies as we allow Jesus to live His resurrection Life of love in us and through us. It brought so much joy to my heart the day I truly realized that our Pappa does what He does, because He is whom He is and that His love for us humans is not according to what we do or don’t do. That will be totally contrary to His character. Oh, it was so wonderful the day I realized that our Pappa is not a fickle, demanding or angry God that loves us only as we are able to perform. It was one if those “Ah-ha” moments on my way to freedom in Jesus!!!
Much love and sweet blessings XX
P.s. I just adore your photos of the doe and her babies. So beautiful and such a picture of a mother’s love.
Mia, it is so good to hear from you again. It has been a while, but I remembered that you had a wedding and preparations that were going on there in South Africa around this time.
I agree that Pappa loves us without conditions and we are not to feel that we have to earn it by doing “good works.” I also have seen that ALL good things come to us from Him and not of ourselves. I have been recently reminded of this once again. It is so easy for us who are starved for love in this cold world to look upon the vessel He uses to love us and think that it is coming from them and go running after the messenger instead of after the ONE who sent us this wonderful love letter in human form.
Glad you like that picture of the doe and her fawns… yes, it was a very touching moment as I watched her with them right after giving birth. God loves us the same way and has been nurturing us as a loving mother after birthing US into His heavenly realm, don’t you agree?
Yes, dear brother, indeed!
“Oh, how we long for such in depth fellowship with one another in Christ wherein the greatest spiritual gift of all flows freely, His great gift of pure love!”
Keep preaching it, brother! 🙂
Yes, not only preaching it but Living it wherever a brother or sister IN Christ is found… fellowshipping IN His light that exposes and then heals.
Absolutely! Well said.
Michael, thank you so much, this was an answer to prayer. My husband is an alcoholic, I’ve been praying that Papa make me into the wife He wants me to be, to be able to help my husband. He has changed my heart in the past few years and this post really spoke to me. Years ago I would have pleaded, cried, screamed, and threatened my husband to quite drinking. Now I pray, wait to see if there’s something Papa wants me to say or do and treat my husband in a loving way. Papa has given me a peace to hang in there, to not bring up past behavior, to be there no matter how long it takes because I love him. Knowing Papa personally is all I need, He is my rock.
I read your reply to my article about God’s love and I am deeply touched by your devotion to your husband. Paul wrote,”Christ died for us while we were yet sinners.” Somehow this really applies in this context. In all your tribulations God has obviously been conforming you into the image of His Son. I am blessed to know you, my dear sister. Praying with you for the salvation of your husband and your safety.