the good way

Growing in Love

Session 8 • Maturity • Activation

The following is probably the most famous passage about love in the New Testament. You may have heard to read at weddings, or funerals. As we grow in spiritual maturity, the evidence of that should be our growth in love, mercy and compassion. What does love look like? Spend some time in prayerful reflection with this passage. Read it through slowly and prayerfully.

1 Corinthians 13

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

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.

Now, read through the passage again, focussing in on verses 4-7. This time, replace the word ‘love’, or its pronoun ‘it’ with your name.

__ is patient, __ is kind. __ does not envy, __ does not boast, __ is not proud. __ does not dishonor others, __ is not self-seeking, __ is not easily angered, __ keeps no record of wrongs. __ does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. __ always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

What thoughts and feelings rise to the surface as you do this? Perhaps the Holy Spirit will bring to mind moments of beauty when you loved in this way. Perhaps you will recall moments when you failed to love like this. Sit under the loving gaze of God and receive his perfect love for you. Surrender all your imperfects. Confess where your love has fallen short. Spend some time with God asking him to speak to you and leading you forwards in living a life of love.

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