Pondering and Praying a Classic Passage

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1 Cor. 13:1 If I don’t have love … I’m a clanging cymbal. 

2 If I don’t have love… I am nothing. 3 If I don’t have love… I gain nothing.

Heavenly Father, as we meditate through this timeless, humbling, classic passage, we’re thankful no condemnation for our sins remains (Rom. 8:1). But plenty of conviction lingers. We want to be this free, this kind, this grace-full. For the only thing that counts in life is faith expressing itself in love (Gal. 5:6).

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 

Father, this is exactly how you love us in Jesus. By the transforming power of grace, help us be patient with difficult people, irritating circumstances, and poorly-timed disappointments. Supersize our contentment and sabotage our envy. Keep us humble, for you resist the proud.

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Free us from self-interest, self-exaltation, self-preoccupation. Help us steward the tricky emotion of anger. Grant us quick repentances when we think, say, and do things that harm others. Give us a photographic memory when it comes to the gospel, but amnesia when it comes to the failings of others.

6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 

Father, may we be more passionate to get grace than get even. Revenge belongs to you, not us. Make us more like Jean Valjean, and less like Javert. Loosen the knots in our hearts. Relax our rigidity. Help us forgive.

7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

As the gospel goes deeper into our hearts, may we protect others, not shame them. Help us trust when trusting isn’t easy; hope, based on who you are, not people changing; and persevere, especially when it’d be easier to throw in the emotional towel. Help us raise our expectations of you and lower them towards mere people. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ kind and powerful name.

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