1 Corinthians 13: 4 – 8 (MSG) I’m bankrupt without love. Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end. Love never dies.
The definition of the word “love” according to Nelson’s Compact Bible Dictionary is
The highest esteem God has for His human children and the high regard which they, in turn, should have for Him and other people.
With this definition freshly in mind, go back and read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 with me again.
“I am bankrupt without love.”
1 John 4:8 tells us that God is Love. So if we go back to the passage 1 Corinthians 13: 4 and replace the word “love” with God it reads
“I am bankrupt without God.”
Whoa… the meaning takes on an entirely different meaning doesn’t it?
But don’t stop there. Take it one step further and make it personal, this time replace the word “I” with your first name:
“Sheri is bankrupt without God.”
Well, how true is that? I have or can do absolutely nothing without God.
Let’s move to the next sentence and go deeper and make it personal. Read the passage through again and replace the word LOVE with your own name. It reads like this: “Sheri never gives up.”
WHOA! Stop there and let’s do a little self-assessment. I’m not sure about you, but there have been times that I’ve given up. Feeling utterly defeated, I have thrown my hands up in the air a time or two and said “Forget this! I can’t do this anymore.” But wait – didn’t we just say that God is love? Knowing this I can read it with confidence “God never gives up.”
I can also read this verse another way by remembering the words of Philippians 4:13 (NIV) “I can do all things through Christ, because He gives me strength.” So now, with the words of this verse in mind let’s read the words one last time,
“Sheri, through Christ, never gives up.”
Ok, now that sounds better to me wouldn’t you agree?
May I encourage you today to make the words of 1 Corinthians 13 personal. Read through the passage and replace the word love with your name. You may find yourself looking at the circumstances you face in a completely different light.