December 9, 2014
READ: 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:7
So you should earnestly desire the most helpful gifts. But now let me show you a way of life that is best of all (12:31).
The 2013 film Frozen tells the story of a troubled princess named Elsa who possessed a special gift—the power to create ice and snow. We’re not talking about making iced tea. No—with a flick of the wrist, this princess could unleash a blizzard that would instantly turn a warm summer day into a cold winter wonderland.
But as a young girl, Elsa’s gift nearly resulted in the death of her sister Anna. Scared that she couldn’t control her special ability, the princess chose to hide it and live alone in fear. By the end of the film, however, Elsa discovered that genuine love was not only the key to controlling her powers for the good of others, but it also opened the door to restoring relationships that years of fear and misunderstanding had stolen.
The apostle Paul longed for the young, upstart church in Corinth to make the same discovery about the power of love when it came to their ‘special abilities’ (1 Corinthians 12:1). Apparently questions and misunderstandings over the meaning of “spiritual gifts” had arisen that threatened to drive the young local church apart. Paul reminded them that all spiritual gifts were important and were “given to each of us so we can help each other” (v.7). He wanted them to understand that the highest virtue of all—love—holds the key to the exercising of their gifts and the resolution of the tensions that threatened their unity.
None of us comes close to living up to Paul’s famous description of genuine love (1 Corinthians 13:4-7), but with God’s help we can grow into “a way of life” that is “best of all” (1 Corinthians 12:31).
Rather than allow fear and misunderstanding to pull us apart, let’s show love; it has the power to knit us together. —Jeff Olson
365-day plan› 2 Thessalonians 1:1-12
Read 1 Corinthians 13:3 and see what it says about the importance of love.
How have you struggled with thinking your spiritual gift is less important or more important than others? What fears might be holding you back from exercising your gifts for God’s glory?