Practicing 1 Corinthians 13 in These Tense Times

You have probably heard of the love chapter. It is found in 1 Corinthians 13. Often used as the “go to” wedding passage, these words from the Apostle Paul have many other applications to the person who goes deeper into God’s word.

I personally think that there is no better time than the present to remind ourselves of these great lessons found in the love chapter. In the first three verses, Paul counts several actions that might give a person reason to boast. He states: “

 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3, ESV

A person can be blessed with all kinds of gifts, abilities and generosity. But if love is not the motivation for one’s deeds, then all the good things that one does amounts to nothing.

In the next paragraph, Paul defines love with a number of descriptives. And it is these that helping us know that love is an action word. Love is found in behavior. Paul states: “

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant  or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;  it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never ends.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8, ESV

It strikes me that during these difficult times, when we find ourselves out of our normal routines, staying home and spending more time with our families, it could be that you and I need to be reminded that love must be practiced intentionally. It does not come naturally to us. We are prone to selfishness and self service. But love presses us to consider others more important than ourselves. So consider the following applications while you’re “hunkering down,” at home.

  • When you are stressed, it is so easy to lose patience with those around you. This happens especially with those that you can take for granted, like a spouse, a child or a parent. Remember that “Love is patient; love is kind.”
  • Secondly, try not become easily offended, but practice forgiveness. I have found that when I’m stressed, I can say things that I deeply regret. Remember that love: “…does not insist on its own way.”
  • Thirdly, don’t be hesitant to take a break by going for a walk or sitting outside. Develop a rhythm between solitude and group time. It is important to keep things fresh. This will encourage consideration and service to others. Remember that love: “…endures all things.”
  • Lastly, try concentrating on the good qualities that one has, rather than what they do to irritate you. Love: “…hopes all things.”

No family is perfect. Different personalities add to a group’s dynamic. During these days of self-quarantine and sheltering in place, be the person that chooses love over inconvenience and frustration. May God bless you in these endeavors.

 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

John 13:34-35 (ESV)

Published by davidmckinley

I am the Senior Pastor of Central Schwenkfelder Church in Worcester, PA. The Schwenkfelder Church is a community of faith birthed from those persecuted in Silesia (Poland) during the 16-18th centuries, whose adherents traveled to Pennsylvania circa 1734. For more on the Schwenkfelders as a historical movement, see Central Schwenkfelder is a Christ-centered, Bible-believing congregation. For more info, see My ordained standing is with the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference. See or

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