That’s the heading to 1 Corinthians 13 in my Bible…”the love chapter”. The Excellence of Love…goes quite well with my blog theme “Womanly Excellence”!
So I’m sitting here having my quiet time this morning and just giving over to God every area of my life. It’s been too long since I’ve gotten up early enough to have this time with the Lord and I can feel it affecting my life. I was studying 1 Timothy yesterday to help my husband (he is in seminary at Jack Hayford’s The King’s Seminary.) Knowing how I’ve been struggling with disciplining myself to grow spiritually, chapter 4 of 1 Timothy was really good for me to read… it talks about “A Good Minister’s Discipline.” The whole chapter is good but there is one verse in particular that I needed, verse 15…
14 Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you… 15 Take Pains with these things, be absorbed in them, so that your progress may be evident to all. 1 Timothy 4:14-15
These things refers to many things mentioned within the chapter: constantly nourishing on the words of faith, having nothing to do with worldly talk, discipline yourself for godliness, show yourself an example of believers in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity. If I am practicing spiritual discipline, I will be growing spiritually and it will be evident to those around me. If I am not, and lately I have been struggling, then I will be spiritually stagnant and that also will be evident to those around me.
Anyway, that is not really what I was going to write my blog about, but the Holy Spirit led me there so maybe someone else needed to read that too. So this morning, trying to get back to spiritual discipline and my early morning time with the Lord, feeling the lack of godliness in areas of my life, I come to the Lord laying down everything before Him. I give my time, my day, my children, my husband, my marriage, my finances, my gifts & talents…everything to Him to do with it what He wills. They are not mine, they are His. When I’m doing it on my own, it falls apart under my stress, worry and my ungodliness. I repented for not loving my family with the excellence of love. Yes, of course, I love them. But the Holy Spirit reminded me of what godly love is and how I should be loving them. I have not been patient, there were times that I was not very kind…a bit unbecoming, ok, probably more than ‘a bit.’ I hate to admit it but I have been so impatient with my kids and even short with my husband. Take Pains in 1 Timothy 4:14-15 to me, reminds me that there are things I need to sacrifice, like a few hours of sleep in the morning so that I may devote my day to the Lord, which will discipline and grow me spiritually, refresh my spirit, help me have a productive day and manage my time well and help me bear fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control — Galatians 5:22).
1 Corinthians 12:31 – 13:13 (12:31 should really go with chapter 13) in the NASB says:
31 But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And I show you a still more excellent way.
1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. 11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love