‘Be 1 Corinthians 13:1-13’

Kathleen Kjolhaug
Friday, January 18, 2019
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One day, as I took pause in conversation with another, they made a suggestion. They suggested that I was not to merely read 1 Cor. 13:1-13, but rather I was to pray to BE 1 Cor. 13:1-13.

The next day I opened up the very words my friend spoke of. As I was trying to follow their advice, and as I did, the pages came to life — giving life.

“Now I will show you the way which surpasses all the others.” So far so good. I’m in! If it surpasses all other ways — who wouldn’t want this?

I kept reading.

“If I speak with human tongues and angelic as well, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong, a clanging cymbal.” Well, there you go. I’ve made enough gonglike noise in my lifetime to last a lifetime. Have my overtones and undertones been filled with love? Always? Most certainly not. Self has been in the mix, pride has been in the mix, and I’ve landed center stage even though I hadn’t intended it to be as such. Purity of heart is what I do desire — and I believe that desire does please Him. Perfectly imperfect is my new mantra and so confess I must. Confessing allows me freedom to have Him point out a few areas where I need to let love in.

I kept reading.

“If I have the gift of prophecy and, with full knowledge, comprehend all mysteries, if I have faith great enough to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” That brought me to my knees and at the same time new questions surfaced. How is this possible? How are we to profess You alone — all the while moving ourselves out of the way? Help me live this one out — because I can’t — You can. You alone are God and I am not.

“If I give everything I have to feed the poor and hand over my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.” This sounds like a lot of doing that will produce little fruit if it’s not done in love. Maybe the questions I should be asking are: How can I love? How is it possible? What would it look like?

“Love is patient; love is kind. Love is not jealous, it does not put on airs, it is not snobbish. Love is never rude, it is not self-seeking it is not prone to anger; neither does it brood over injuries. Love does not rejoice in what is wrong but rejoices with the truth. There is no limit to love’s forbearance, to its trust, its hope, its power to endure.” Well, there you go. I have my answer.

As of late, I’ve had to go to a Physical Therapist. He helps strengthen the muscles in my lower back. I suppose His Word, if I practice what He suggests, would be the equivalent of strengthening my soul and He could be called my Spiritual Therapist. He strengthens the heart muscles each time I work out and put into action what He is prescribing.

Why would a person want this? Why? Because “Love never fails. Prophecies will cease, tongues will be silent, knowledge will pass away. Our knowledge is imperfect and our prophesying is imperfect. When the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away.” If it never fails, why would we try anything else? It will fail. When I already have a cheat sheet of what works — why would I do anything else? Truth-be-told, we all think we know what’s best and sometimes — we just go our own way and do our own thing paying little attention to His advice.

“When I was a child I used to talk like a child, think like a child, reason like a child. When I became a man I put childish ways aside. Now we see indistinctly, as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. My knowledge is imperfect now; then I shall know even as I am known. There are in the end three things that last: faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is love.”

Who wouldn’t want the greatest? If it’s the best, the greatest, lasts forever, and is highly recommended by the One who is all knowing from the beginning of time, then, who wouldn’t want this?

I do. Many of us have said those two words not having a clue as to what they truly mean. Daily I must confess that I know nothing about love. Intentionally I must pray that He, the perfect One, take away the imperfect. It is a simple first step and I continue to pray that I may BE 1 Corinthian 13:1-13.  Amen.

( Kathleen Kjolhaug is a religion columnist.)