The God Of Your Story

Day 1 of 7 • This day’s reading


In 1 Corinthians 13, we reach one of the most venerated and well-known portions in all the Bible—the love chapter. Most of us are aware of, and many can quote 1 Corinthians 13. What is less known is its context. 

In Paul’s discussion leading to 1 Corinthians 13, Paul spoke about spiritual gifting. He shared how each person is uniquely gifted and that together these gifts serve the whole. He then described the way in which the human body has many parts—both seen and unseen. In a human body, all the different parts of the body are needed to make up the whole, and so it is with the Body of Christ. We are each uniquely gifted and placed and have full permission to be exactly who we were created to be. In fact, we must become exactly who we were created to be for the Body to thrive.

Paul discussed the different kinds of posts that might be filled out of these giftings—apostles, prophets, teachers, miracle workers, those with the gift of healing, helpers, those with leadership and administration gifts, and those who can speak in unknown languages.

Paul essentially asked, “Can all of us be all of these things?” The answer, of course was no. But one animating force empowers each of these posts, gifts, and parts of the Body: love. Which brought us to the love chapter.

“Let me show you a way of life that is best of all,” Paul said as he moved into one of his most celebrated writings (1 Corinthians 12:31 NLT).

Paul then began to name the gifts and posts, revealing that each of them would be nothing—no matter how celebrated—without love. Love is what enables our gifts to be used properly. It is what empowers us to assume roles of service. And it is what holds the Body of Christ together. Or as Jesus put it, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples” (John 13:35).

In this chapter Paul revealed the characteristics that must become ubiquitous to all of us in order for us to be fully empowered to use our irreplaceable and unique gifting within the Body of Christ: 

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

Paul told us that all our giftedness is partial and incomplete and will one day be rendered useless, in the same way that we put away childish things as we mature into adulthood. In other words, it is not our giftedness that represents our standing in the Body; it is our love. Our gifting is simply our place of service to one another, but our love is what binds us together.

“Three things will last forever,” Paul said, “faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13). May we focus our energy and attention on these things, for not only do they animate our gifts and talents, they will stay with us when everything else fades away.