"Let all that you do be done in love" (1 Cor. 16:14).
Scripture and personal experience teach us that sin always has its consequences. When you harbor unconfessed sin, you dishonor God and forfeit the blessings and joy He desires for you. Prolonged sin might even bring His chastening through pain or illness.
That's what happened to Corinthian believers who partook of the Lord's Table in a sinful manner (1 Cor. 11:27-30). Paul warned the rest of the congregation to take careful spiritual inventory of themselves to avoid incurring a similar punishment. In chapter 13 he reveals the root of their problem, saying in effect, "Some of you are physically ill because you're sinning. Start loving God and one another as you should, and your ailments will disappear."
Love is the antidote for sin. When a Pharisee asked Jesus which of the commandments was greatest, Jesus replied, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the greatest and foremost commandment. The second is like it, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets" (Matt. 22:37-40). If you love the Lord and your fellow man, you won't sin against them. That's why Paul said, "He who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this, 'You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,' and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' Love does no wrong to a neighbor; love therefore is the fulfillment of the law" (Rom. 13:8-10).
Love is your highest calling and the greatest contribution you can make to others. But it's possible to neglect it or misunderstand its characteristics. That's why we're going to spend this month exploring true love and how it functions. As we do, pray that your love for God and others will increase each day.
Suggestions for Prayer:
Ask God for a greater capacity to love Him, then demonstrate your love by obeying His Word.
For Further Study:
Read 1 Corinthians 13, noting the characteristics of love.
From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.