I Corinthians 13:8-13
Day 1: On Sunday, we were invited to reflect on this summer series. What was your response? Have you found yourself living out a principle or verse? Does a challenging phrase keep coming to your mind or attitude? Here are some series’ truths or phrases:
· I Corinthians 13:1-13. I will show you the most excellent way.
· We’ve been given gifts, abilities and experiences to put into use for the sake of the church.
· When we don’t see eye to eye, can we still walk side by side.
· Having self-awareness is understanding your preferences.
· There are different categories of preferences: essential, important and trivial. Paul tells us to love in all of them.
· We often judge people by their actions and judge ourselves by our intentions.
· Actions without love in our lives are like clanging, irritating cymbals.
Which of these principles is easiest to live by? Which of these are most challenging to you? Ask God to help you grow in that area. Then take time to thank God for planting a truth that you needed to hear and ask Him to continue to form you into a person who loves. He’s not done with you nor any of us.
Day 2: Have you seen a tuning fork? It’s a U-shared, two-pronged metal instrument that when struck, produces a pure musical tone at a constant pitch. Musicians use it to get in tune in preparation for performing a piece together. An orchestra does not get on the same pitch by tuning themselves to each other. They tune themselves according to a single source, the tuning fork. At the beginning of this series, we read this passage in I Corinthians 1:10-13. Now read I Cor 2:6-10. We all find wisdom and truth in God through the Holy Spirit because of our relationship with Jesus. God is our “tuning fork” (our source) and learning to listen to the Holy Spirit is how we “tune” our hearts and minds to be “in tune” to the consistent truth of God’s heart and mind. One example of “tuning in” is recognizing the Holy Spirit when you are searching for the way of love. Conversely, reflect on how and when you “tune” yourself by something other than our true source.
Day 3: When dinner is ready on the table and the kids are still playing on the backyard swing set, it’s time to come in. One time when Iexplained this tomy four-year-old, it went something like this, “Hey buddy, it’s time for dinner. We can come out and play after dinner.” Instead of jumping off the swing and heading to the back porch, he ran for the slide. This went on for a few minutes. Then I took another approach. I lovingly grabbed him, picked him up and brought him into the house. I’m not sure if that was the best parenting strategy, but we did all eat dinner together that night. Read I Cor. 13:11-13. At some point, we are to learn to put our childish ways behind us. Since we all have the ability to choose, we will always be tempted to choose the childlike way of what is easy, less, harmful, or just selfish. When God calls to us to step toward a person in love, do we stop ourselves, go, listen, and serve? Or do we keep on swinging on the swing? Living out love that is patient and kind, a love that protects, trusts and hopes for can only be done when we step out of our childish ways. How can this help you today?
Day 4: Read John 12:23-26. A kernel has to die to produce a multitude of wheat. This is how love works. It is meant to multiply. Loving people produce more loving people. If we seek to live for ourselves, that is all that we will get. But if we follow Jesus and give love away, we grow love. Where is love being multiplied in your life? Refrain from shame or blame when answering. Do you see evidence of love, a love that God daily and freely gives to you, making a difference in your family, among your friends, at work or in your small group? Here may be a harder question to answe; How are the people in your life loving others because of the love you’ve shown to them? Consider the multiplication of love as you go about your day today. “Spirit, help me to notice the person in front of me. Show me how I can love them in such a way that inspires love.”
Day 5: Reflect on the last two passages we’ve read this week. I Cor 13: 11-13 and John 12:23-26. There’s the act of love and the act of dying to oneself. How are those related? How does becoming selfless promote love? One tangible response to dying to oneself is through baptism. In baptism, we relate to the person of Jesus as He was submersed in the water (as unto death) and raised to life (new life in Christ) as we commit to follow after Him submitting to “tune” our life to Jesus. Can you relate to this through your own baptism or a time when you specifically drew a line in the sand and committed to follow after Jesus? Has that moment produced a change or transformation in your heart and in the way you react and interact with others in love? What is something in your life you know you need to die to so God can raise up new thoughts or actions in that area? Tell a trusted friend of your new commitment and ask the Holy Spirit to remind you, strengthen you and equip you for the task ahead. Go live out love!