Key Word:- LOVE
Title:- A Vehement Flame
1 Corinthians 13:3 …..though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
In England, under the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, several Roman Catholics suffered death for reasons of treason. Previously, under the reign of ‘Mary Queen of Scots’ however, no fewer than 288 people were burned at the stake for reasons regarding their faith.
When the apostle Paul wrote these lines, it is unlikely that as yet any Christians had suffered this burning fate; though the Emperor Nero would soon light his gardens with burning Christians dipped in pitch and set aflame. Over the centuries, tens of thousands would enter heaven via the same route. Of these, I am not worthy to comment upon. The cruelty and brutality of such a fate, moves my mind to a stunned silence.
Now having faced some of the facts, let us face the text. The apostle Paul here is not using a literary device to make a point. He is, by a final and horrific contemplation of a cruel death, pointing to the over riding, all encompassing necessity, of true love. This final phrase is his terrible prefix to the unpacking of that key element, which is the only true driving force and final yardstick by which we will all be measured against. Love.
Love which is selfless, outward looking, inward longing, pleasantly pleasing, prayerfully pleading with people to come to the Saviour. Love which is unfailing, all bearing, all believing, and unrelenting in the hope of better things, regarding the object it bestows itself upon. Love that does not seek revenge for loss. Loss of face, loss of goods, loss of spouse, loss of children, loss of dignity, loss of life. Quiet love, humble love; love whose thoughts and intents, sparkle in pristine purity.
Let us stop playing games and weep before this vehement flame of love, longing for its possession, longing for it to be kindled in our hearts. Imagine how the world, a nation, a community, a church, or a family could be changed by such a burning love. Things would never be the same again would they?
Friends, whatever you are living for or dying for today, make sure that love is possessed by you and you are possessed by it.
Listen:- “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35
Pray: - Lord, in shock and awe I lay before this text today, fearful to pray, fearful to ask to be taught to love in such a way, unable in my old self, to live in such a way. So Holy Spirit, release the hidden man of my heart and raise up the new and incorruptible man in me, that I may experience Your power today. Amen.