The word of the day is “endures.” People these days do not value things that last. But when the trials of life come, they realize that they have taken the good things of life for granted, and what is valuable has slipped away from them. Then, they begin to seek something that endures.
In today’s reading of 1 Corinthians 13:4-14, Paul answers that quest. It is love. The apostle writes that love “…bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (vs. 7).
The Love God Has For Us and the Love We Share
The love that Paul refers to is not the love of romance, friendship, or family. It is the everlasting love that God has for us and the longsuffering love that He gives us to share (1 Thessalonian 3:12).
Note that Paul did not write his soaring hymn to divine love when things were going well. But he wrote his tribute to love amidst the distressing conflicts in the church at Corinth. In this beloved passage, the apostle proclaimed that love is the answer to the pride, envy, and contempt tearing the church apart.
All the Heavenly Gifts Are Useless Without Love
Paul wrote previously about the miraculous supernatural gifts that the Corinthians were vying with one another to possess. He proclaimed that they were nothing without love. He noted that mystical knowledge, weighty prophecy, remarkable faith, generous charity, and even selfless martyrdom were useless without love. All these things and everything that believers may possess in this world will not last.
We learn from our reading that love alone endures. It perseveres through good times or bad. It lives on from one generation to the next. It continues from age to age. The “more excellent way” of love’s mercy, compassion, kindness, longsuffering, goodness, and selflessness reigns in heaven and persists on earth (vs. 12:31).
Yes, love endures. That word means literally “remains behind” (Strong’s #5278 and #5281, 259). That is to say that when love suffers wrongs, it bears all things” (vs. 7). When love is accused and attacked, “it is not easily provoked” (vs. 5). When love sees injustice and dishonesty, it stands for justice and truth. When evil approaches, love does not run the other way but faces wickedness with goodness. In summary, in all things, “love never fails” (vs. 8). It prevails—and endures forever.