“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
NOW YOU ARE THE BODY OF CHRIST, AND EACH ONE OF YOU IS A PART OF IT. 28 AND IN THE CHURCH GOD HAS APPOINTED FIRST OF ALL APOSTLES, SECOND PROPHETS, THIRD TEACHERS, THEN WORKERS OF MIRACLES, ALSO THOSE HAVING GIFTS OF HEALING, THOSE ABLE TO HELP OTHERS, THOSE WITH GIFTS OF ADMINISTRATION, AND THOSE SPEAKING IN DIFFERENT KINDS OF TONGUES. 29 ARE ALL APOSTLES? ARE ALL PROPHETS? ARE ALL TEACHERS? DO ALL WORK MIRACLES? 30 DO ALL HAVE GIFTS OF HEALING? DO ALL SPEAK IN TONGUES? DO ALL INTERPRET? 31 BUT EAGERLY DESIRE THE GREATER GIFTS. AND NOW I WILL SHOW YOU THE MOST EXCELLENT WAY. 1 CORINTHIANS 12:27-31 NIV
GOD HAS A PLACE FOR EVERY ONE IN HIS BODY. YOU ARE NOT ALL CLONES OF EACH OTHER. YOU ARE UNIQUE, YOU ARE DIFFERENT, AND YOU NEED TO BE CONTENT TO BE DIFFERENT. YOU WILL NEVER BE HAPPY UNTIL YOU ACCEPT YOURSELF AS YOU ARE AND STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHER PEOPLE. GOD LOVES YOU AS YOU ARE AND HE WANTS YOU TO BE LIKE HIM AND TO WALK IN HIS LOVE TOWARD OTHERS. THERE IS NO PLACE FOR COMPETITION IN THE BODY OF CHRIST. THE GIFTS AND THE CALLING OF GOD ONLY FUNCTION AS THEY WERE INTENDED TO FUNCTION WHEN THEY ARE MOTIVATED BY AND OPERATED IN THE LOVE OF GOD.
IF I SPEAK IN THE TONGUES OF MEN AND OF ANGELS, BUT HAVE NOT LOVE, I AM ONLY A RESOUNDING GONG OR A CLANGING CYMBAL. 2 IF I HAVE THE GIFT OF PROPHECY AND CAN FATHOM ALL MYSTERIES AND ALL KNOWLEDGE, AND IF I HAVE A FAITH THAT CAN MOVE MOUNTAINS, BUT HAVE NOT LOVE, I AM NOTHING. 3 IF I GIVE ALL I POSSESS TO THE POOR AND SURRENDER MY BODY TO THE FLAMES, BUT HAVE NOT LOVE, I GAIN NOTHING. 1 CORINTHIANS 13:1-3 NIV
WITHOUT LOVE, YOU ARE EMPTY – YOU ARE ONLY A RESOUNDING GONG OR A CLANGING CYMBAL – YOU MAKE A LOT OF NOISE, BUT PRODUCE NOTHING OF VALUE! WITHOUT LOVE, ANYTHING YOU DO FOR THEKINGDOM OF GOD IS POINTLESS AND VALUELESS – IT IS WOOD, HAY AND STUBBLE, READY TO BE BURNED UP AT THE LAST. LOVE IS THE “MORE EXCELLENT WAY.”
Dear friends, let us practice loving each other, for love comes from God and those who are loving and kind show that they are the children of God, and that they are getting to know him better. 8 But if a person isn’t loving and kind, it shows that he doesn’t know God-for God is love. 1 John 4:7-8 TLB
Whoever does not love others does not know God, because God is love. God is not the source or inspiration of this person. The absence of God’s love in their life is proof of that.
Love is very patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, 5 never haughty or selfish or rude. Love does not demand its own way. It is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong. 6 It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever truth wins out. 7 If you love someone, you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost. You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him, and always stand your ground in defending him. 8 All the special gifts and powers from God will someday come to an end, but love goes on forever. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 TLB
People have a lot to say on the subject of love, innumerable songs and poems and books have been written on the subject of love, but they still have no idea what true love is. True love is God’s love. It is completely unselfish – in fact it is devoted to the well-being of the one being loved. God’s love gives value where there was none before – He sees you and me as valuable and precious and He treats you and me as valuable and precious when we are nothing of the sort.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 1 Corinthians 13:8-11 NIV
Contrary to religion and tradition and the devil, the gifts of the Spirit have not “passed away.” If they were “passed away” then we would all be perfect and we all know that we are far from perfect. You will never be perfect until you see Him face to face! The gifts of the Spirit are still available to you today and will continue to be available as long as the earth remains as it is. Even so, the gifts of the Spirit are only needed here on earth, but love goes on into eternity. 1 Corinthians 14:1 says that we should, “follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts.” You should not refuse God’s gifts, but you should eagerly seek them, allowing God’s love all the while to have its way in you.
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:11-13 NIV
God’s love, operating in you, causes you to come to a place of spiritual and emotional maturity. Faith, hope and love will stand the test of time, but love is the most important thing you can possess even into eternity. You will always need faith. You will always need hope. You will always need love. But love is the most important thing you can possess. God’s love will never let you down.