A couple of years ago, I did a study on the first few verses of 1 Corinthians 13. While going through an old journal tonight, I was reminded of how much it blessed me and thought I'd share some of it here.
1 Corinthians 13 is basically a study on the selflessness of love. It is a challenge to me asking: What are my motives?
v.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."
It doesn't matter if I know all the jargon and lingo to sound like a mature, loving Christian; if my heart is not right, if the motive for the words is not to encourage, uplift and bless someone, then all that "Christianese" is just a brassy, clanging noise.
I used to sing on the worship team at our previous church and I'd sometimes find myself getting into "puffed-up mode". Then I'd catch myself and imagine God making my voice sound high, squeaky and off-key. Like the Emperor and his New Clothes, I'd imagine that I was going along on my merry way, thinking that I sounded so wonderful--when all the time, I'd disrupted the entire service with my clanging voice and didn't even realize it!
If I'm not tuned into the Lord, I will never hear or recognize him admonishing me to "add to (my) faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge self-control," (2 Peter 1:5-6) because His divine power has given to (me) all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called (me) by glory and virtue," (v.3).
Without love, virtue, and knowledge of God, I can not be self-controlled enough to turn the glory back to Him and "escape the corruption" (v.4) that is the result of my "lusting" after that glory.