Together in Christ: 'Stop the Noise and Start the Loving' — 1 Corinthians 13:1

Friday, February 2, 2024

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn't love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

— 1 Corinthians 13:1 NLT

Key Thought

Years ago, Paul and Linda McCartney wrote the hit "Silly Love Songs." [1] Their point? The world never gets tired of good love songs. Their catchy melody and their sweet sentiments help us find ways to communicate our love to others and understand how we feel about being in love. However, if we dwell on the sentiments of love songs, we can begin to believe that love is little more than what we think, feel, say, and sing. We then empty the word "love" of its biblical depth. We must not disconnect our love for someone from how we treat them in all of our interactions. Our faithful love must be stronger than the ebbs and flows of attraction. We must not reduce our love merely to an exciting set of fleeting emotions.

The apostle Paul wrote to believers in Corinth about their many conflicts and divisions. [2] They were caught up in the "flash and glam," the emotion and excitement, of exercising their spiritual gifts. [3] So, Paul brought them back to reality by emphasizing the "way of life that is best of all": [4] love — God-styled love, or as we sometimes call it, agape love. Jesus exemplified this love when he left the Father and His home in glory and came to earth as the child of poor common people. Then he served people and loved them — and us — through His incarnation in human flesh, life of service to others, and His self-sacrifice in the horrible nightmare of His Passion. [5] God-styled love demonstrated by Jesus certainly involved emotion, excitement, and fervor. It also involved faithfulness, service, and sacrifice. Jesus is our example of true love! [6]

I don't think Paul, the apostle, would have had anything against the McCartneys' "Silly Love Songs" hit. But, he certainly reminded the Corinthians — and us — that if all we do is talk and sing about love, then we're nothing more than a loud noise, "a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal." Worship, friendship, family relationships, and fellowship all mean loving each other just as God has loved us, that is, serving each other and sacrificing for each other [7] — and that certainly is a lot more important than just making a bunch of noise or doing a bunch of things that draw attention to ourselves!

[1] The song begins with these words: "You'd think that people would have had enough of silly love songs./But I look around me and I see it isn't so."
[2] 1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 3:1-5.
[3] 1 Corinthians 12:27-31, 14:13-20.
[4] 1 Corinthians 12:31, 13:1-3.
[5] Philippians 2:5-11.
[6] Romans 5:6-11; 1 John 3:16-18, 4:9-10.
[7] John 13:34-35; Ephesians 5:2.

Today's Prayer

Dear Father, I want to love my physical family and my spiritual family with more than just words. Let my life be a lasting and faithful gift of loving service and sacrifice lived for those You have placed in my life. I ask this in the power of Jesus' name. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • John 13:1-25
  • 1 Corinthians 13:1-13


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Illustration of 1 Corinthians 13:1 NLT — If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn't love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

About This Devotional

Together in Christ is a daily devotional that focuses on what Scripture teaches about godly living in relationships.

'Together in Christ' is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.