Here I go again using a picture of our little dog, Butters, as an illustration to a message. We bought this tiny dog life-jacket to put on him. I know you're thinking, 'He's a dog for crying out loud.' But he's kind of a stupid little dog in that he will he will jump ship the first chance he gets. Hence the life jacket.
He begins the chapter by stating you can have all the gifts God has to offer: being an apostle, healing, prophesy, teaching, miracles, speaking in tongues. But he clarifies at the end of each of his statements on these gifts that if you have these gifts without love, they are meaningless.
He concludes the chapter by saying we need to abide in these three things "faith, hope and love." His final statement is commanding in style. In writing and journalism, this concluding statement is often the most powerful message and can come in a form of a call to action. He tells the reader that the greatest of these three things (faith, hope and love) is LOVE. I believe it is the most powerful message in the chapter and also a call to action because Paul begins the next chapter with . . "Pursue love, yet desire . ."
I try to talk to my kids as often as possible about the things of God. As my children are getting older, we have been having to address a broader worldview of Christianity and how God fits into the world. Unless you have lived off the grid in a strict Christian community, you are being bombarded with the world's standards, which are not of God.
I told them today that I am thankful that I believe in a God or religion that teaches things such as faith, hope and love. I challenged them to find another religion that teaches all the goodness that is found in the Bible. I would expect that if you looked to all the religions, theories and philosophies in the world, you wouldn't find the teaching on love that we see offered from the God of the Bible. Good luck finding hope and peace and love in the theory of evolution .. it hasn't worked out for the science teachers I have know who embrace the things that are non-God and who reject the true 'Origin of Species'. It's been the opposite as a matter of fact . . offering no peace and much turmoil in their relationships and in life.
God gave the Bible to us as a road map for our lives, a pattern to guide us away from things that are harmful. He created us and knows us inside and out, knowing what is best for us and also knowing what is not good for us. If He says the greatest of these things is love, that we ought to have for Him and one another, don't you think that He created the Bible for us out of love? His love for us?
We want what is best for our children and that comes from our love for them. Sometimes it is not always what they want, but we are the parent and know what's best for them (usually anyway, as we are humans and fallible). But so it is for God and us as His creation.
He is our parent and knows what is best for us out of love.
"We love because God first loved us." 1 John 4:19
The world is doing everything it can to strip society of God. In the last 25 years or so, it has been very successful. It wants to strip society of God because they will then have a license to live how they want to live. No God, no standards, type of thinking.
The world wants the blessing that has come along with having a God-fearing nation but not the standards God has for us. The world wants love and peace and hope but not the Author of love and peace and hope.
So once again, it brings me back the fact that the Bible is a road map for our lives, a pattern carefully designed for our lives, designed by the Creator of our very lives. This Creator intricately wove us together and in doing so, knows what is best for us.
Here's the reality of it:
No God = No standards to live by
No God = No love, hope or peace
The world wants to throw out the 'baby with the bathwater' and we can't let this happen. First, we need to pray. Second, we need to ask God what our role in this is. Third, we need to act on that calling.
So that brings me back to Butters and the life jacket we purchased for him. We bought it for him because we love him, and similarly, God gives us his teachings in the Bible because He loves us . . not because He wants to restrict us from everything . . but wants what is best for us!