November 26, 2023 | Duane Roberts
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“Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 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 the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”—1 Corinthians 13:8–13 (NIV)
Have you ever finished a really great book, closed the back cover, and let out a deep breath and smiled—you know, that moment where you just take it all in? Well, here it is: “Love never fails.” The apostle Paul spends the entire chapter helping us grasp the importance of agape love above all else. It’s not a surprise the climax of the chapter is “the greatest of these is love.” The closing statement is a celebration of eternal love; it’s the cherry on top or the icing on the cake (seriously, the best part!). Why? Because God is eternal, God IS love (1 John 4:8), and love transcends time.
The gifts of the Spirit such as prophecy, tongues, and knowledge used here on Earth will eventually fade away when we enter into eternity. Even faith and hope are no longer required in heaven. When we’re in His presence, we won’t need faith and hope because in Christ they are completely satisfied. Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV) states, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” In heaven, we will experience Him face to face. He is the unseen hope. Love remains because the very object of our love is God. Imagine the immense awe, joy, and gratitude we will experience for all of eternity.
The deepest expression of God’s eternal agape love is the cross of Jesus Christ, where the greatest swap in mankind occurred—our sinful lives in exchange for His righteousness. John 15:13 (NKJV) says, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” Jesus willingly laid down His life for ours.
“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 the ways of childhood behind me.” In this context, Paul reminds the spiritually mature believers the temporary gifts of prophecies, tongues, and knowledge should not be overemphasized over the importance of agape love. However, this Scripture is so rich it can be applied to many different aspects of our spiritual walk, from our desires to our worldview. The goal is to be growing in our faith and understanding of the Word of God. We’re called to put away our old childish desires, behaviors, and perspectives and walk in the will of God.
“For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” In the ancient world, mirrors were nothing more than highly polished metal, so the reflection was always blurry and distorted. One day, we’ll see Jesus clearly in all His glory. We’ll see and know Him perfectly. We’ll enjoy uninterrupted, unlimited access to our Savior for all of eternity. Isn’t that exciting! Until then, we’re called to abide in faith, hope, and (the greatest of these) love.
Pause: Meditate on having uninterrupted, unlimited access to Jesus for all of eternity.
Practice: Read Matthew 22:36–40 to see the two greatest commandments: love God and love others. Re-read how to walk in agape love from yesterday’s devotional called Love Like Christ discussing 1 Corinthians 13:4–7.
Pray: Dear Lord, Your unmerited love and compassion for me is overwhelming. I look forward to the day when I can see You face to face and be in Your Presence for all of eternity. Help me to desire the greatest of gifts, love. I need You to empower love in me daily. I want to be a reflection of You wherever I go. Amen.
Deb Marsalisi is an author, public speaker, mentor and Fire Inspector. She began her writing journey to make peace with her challenging past. It has provided her with an outlet for creative self-expression, and a healthy new perspective on life.
Through God’s amazing grace, she has learned to rejoice in life’s ups and downs, struggles and victories understanding they’ve been given so she can help and inspire others on their own journey of restoration. Her passion is to support others in emotional and spiritual habits that are truly life-changing. She spends her free time loving, encouraging and mentoring young women to grow in their relationship with Jesus. And she also enjoys cooking amazing meals for her friends and family.