1 Corinthians   (The Message Version unless otherwise noted)

1 Corinthians 13

The Way of Love

 1 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. 2If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. 3-7If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.

Jesus, do not let me be a head full of knowledge, but a heart empty of love.  I know I don't love You as I should, or I would never sin.  I know I don't love my wife and family as I should, or I would never sin.  Change me Lord so I truly love as You love.  Help me love completely. 

   Love never gives up.
   Love cares more for others than for self.
   Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
   Love doesn't strut,
   Doesn't have a swelled head,
   Doesn't force itself on others,
   Isn't always "me first,"
   Doesn't fly off the handle,
   Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
   Doesn't revel when others grovel,
   Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
   Puts up with anything,
   Trusts God always,
   Always looks for the best,
   Never looks back,
   But keeps going to the end.

Jesus, where do I begin with a list like that.  It would be so wonderful to say that I love like that.  I can see You working in me, because I am so much more like the list than I was 5 years ago.  On the other hand, I am so far from where I should be that I am ashamed of myself.  Do not give up on me because of my slow progress Lord.  Of course You won't because the list describes You, and the first thing on the list is that You never give up!  Thank-you so much for that Lord.  Help me love like You.

 8-10Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.

Jesus, only You can complete me.  The closer I am to You, the more complete I am.  It is time for me to think and live and work and act for You and You alone.  It is time for me to fill all my inadequacies with You so I can be of some good to You and to others.  Lord, change me! 

 11When I was an infant at my mother's breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.

Jesus, I should be so much more mature by now.  I've know You for almost 40 years, and still I am a spiritual child.  Help me to leave my ways, the world's ways, the immature ways behind forever and walk forever as a mature follower of You.  Lord, help me mature.  

 12We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

Jesus, I seem like a live in a fog all the time.  I never seem to know and understand what is going on.  That isn't true.  Many times I know I have brought my situations on by my own sins.  I also can often see Your love in both the joyful and trying parts of my life.  But still, there is so much that is "cloudy".  Give me the faith Lord, to just follow You through the fog.  Give me the faith to move forward without knowing Your plan.  And guide me Lord, for I know it is so easy to get lost in the fog.  

 13But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

Jesus, You certainly love extravagantly.  You surely do not hold back Your love for fear of being hurt.  Your love put You on the cross!  Lord help me to be like You.  Help me to love without limits.  Open my heart up to  pour Your love out on anyone I am near.  Love extravagantly!