Warmth in Giving

Read 1 Corinthians 13:1-13.

While 1 Corinthians 13—the passage about love—is well-known, the chapter can only be properly understood when we read the love chapter in light of what came before it and what comes after it. Both chapters 12 and 14 deal with the proper role and use of spiritual gifts, and the chapter between them reminds us of the big picture: Love is the point! The spiritual gifts God gives to Christians are to be exercised in love, so Paul shows us what that love actually looks like.

Love is patient and kind, neither envying nor boasting. It is not self-seeking but self-denying. Biblical love requires something of us. Actually, it demands our all—for true love is the way of the cross (see John 15:12-13). Dying to self means that we keep no record of wrongs; it means that we forgive until we lose count, for this is how Jesus deals with us. We are recipients of an astounding love, and it is God Himself who empowers us to then pour out this love to others as we submit to the leading of His Holy Spirit.

It’s easy to tell someone that you love them, but love is only truly expressed when you die to yourself. Can you die to your opinions? Can you die to your possessions? Can you die to your feelings? That determines true love for another.

Finally, love also has no expiration date. Men and women who love Jesus will love one another for eternity. Paul wrote, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13). Why is love the greatest? Because in God’s presence, there will be no need for faith; we will see our Savior face to face. Likewise, there will be no need of hope, for all our hopes will have been realized. But love—love will echo on into eternity. Love will be given and received, and it will grow for ages and ages to come. God has given us the local church so we can start practicing this eternal pastime right here and now. So, let’s eagerly desire this greatest gift as Paul exhorts us (see 1 Corinthians 12:31). And let’s ask the Lord to work in our hearts to bring this precious fruit to bear so that it is the underlying motivation for everything we do. 

Prayer: Jesus, I see that love truly is the greatest gift. Work this gift in me by Your Holy Spirit, that I may obey Your will, bless others, and be blessed myself with the joy and peace that love brings. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13).

Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef’s sermon Healthy Living in a Sick World, Part 18: LISTEN NOW

Check out more from Dr. Michael Youssef, here!

About The Author

Dr. Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Even before he was born, it is clear that God had a vision for Michael Youssef. His mother was in poor health when she became pregnant with Michael, and because his life was in danger at the time of birth, the doctor recommended terminating the pregnancy. An abortion was scheduled. But God intervened and sent the family pastor to reassure them that God was involved in this pregnancy. He told them not to be afraid and that the child would be "born to serve the Lord." Michael's parents accepted the pastor's message as a message from God and obeyed. His mother gave birth, and lived to see him give his life to the Lord at the age of sixteen.

Believing that God had called him out of Egypt, Michael sought an exit visa in a time in which no university student was allowed to have a passport or leave the country. God intervened again, and miraculously he managed to acquire a visa. He immigrated to Australia, where he studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney, was ordained as a pastor, and met Elizabeth who became his wife.

The Youssefs came to America in 1977, and in 1978 Michael received a master's degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. Then he earned a doctorate in social anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael served nearly ten years in the Haggai Institute, traveling around the world more than 32 times, teaching courses in evangelism and leadership. He rose to the position of Managing Director at the age of 31 years. The family settled in Atlanta, and in 1984, Michael became a citizen of the United States, making his dream of many years come true.

He founded The Church of The Apostles in 1987 with fewer than 40 adults with the mission of "Equipping the Saints and Searching for the Lost". The church has since grown to be a congregation of over 3,000 people today. This church has driven the international ministry of Leading the Way. While it is heard by millions at home and abroad, behind every message preached through radio waves, is the heart of a pastor, willing to nurture and care for these people. Clearly God has uniquely equipped Dr. Youssef to speak to a global audience. The path he has taken has given him an understanding and firm grasp of the Scriptures that transcend cultures. He preaches, teaches and calls with a sincere, based on the authority of the inerrant, inspired Word of God. With his personal knowledge of the Holy Land, its history and culture, Dr. Michael Youssef transmits life to listeners all over the world.

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