If I speak in the tongues for men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on it’s own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
So now faith, hope and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13
Our family is memorizing these verses. We recite them together around the dinner table and my heart swells to hear small voices lisp the words so confidently.
I used to see these verses as a checklist for my behavior. You know, go down the list of what love is supposed to be and will myself to be those things. Or go down the list and see all the ways I completely failed to love. Either way, my performance was key. Lately my perspective has changed. Many circumstances have converged and the Spirit is showing me that I am this deeply and radically loved, regardless of my performance! I read through the “love checklist” and marvel at the depth and breadth and beauty of a perfect love that saved me! I am in awe of a love that loves me even when I screw up royally (which I do every day).
This is new ground for me, to live out of the knowledge of the love I have received rather than to live out of my performance. There are so many ways this has changed my thinking (and hopefully my actions) not only in my spiritual life but practically as well in my life as a wife, mother, friend.
This is that journey to love simply because He has first loved me.