Ever had the experience of having something really big and special happen to you? Something that seems to be almost life-changingly good? And when that happens, because we’re in an ecstatically good mood, we give a bigger tip than we normally would, say kinder words to the person on the street than we normally would, we are nicer to our spouse, etc? Now, contrast that with trying to do those good deeds when we don’t have that extra boost of good mood? Or maybe trying to do them when we are really unhappy. We can sometime do them. But it’s more rare and it’s very hard work. This is a model of the way God’s grace (unmerited favor) works. When we believe it, it’s such good news that we find ourselves effortlessly being incredibly good to people around us that we may have treated just mediocre-ly in the past. Because, really, our problems are all solved. We’re happy. Our needs are met. Life is great.
In 1 Cor 13, it says that it doesn’t matter what good deeds we do. If we do them without love, they are of no consequence. We could even sell everything and give it to the poor, but if we do it without love, then it is of no consequence. So, what is this love that this passage speaks of? It’s the love the is described in the previous paragraph.