THE RIDDLE OF 1 CORINTHIANS 13:3 –WHAT IS REAL LOVE? – SOLVED! Part 1.

In 1 Corinthians 13 it says that Imageeven if you give all your possessions to the poor and offer your body to be burned up, if it’s not with Love then it is of no profit or benefit. God would be just as pleased if you hadn’t done it.

At first read, this can be pretty confusing.  Because I would think that if you were such a “good person” that you took your $350,000 net worth of possessions/money (random example) and gave them to needy people, that would be a great act of Love.   Isn’t that love?  How can that be of no value if all those poor people got some money, food or whatever? So, to help us understand what is being said here, we should first make sure we understand what Love is.  On the next post, we can discuss what Love IS.  But first we must discuss what love is NOT.

I bet being on good terms with God, believing that He’s pretty pleased with you, is a main focus of your life (and likely it is since you are reading a blog like this one).  Right? It is a main focus for almost all “religious” people.   And if such an act of giving all your possessions to the poor were to be done believing that you will in any way be on better terms with God, then this is SELF RIGHTEOUSNESS, not Love.  Actions/works done out of this self-righteousness are of no value to God.

You know why?  Because He never wants you to live under such a heavy, painful burden as this. He knows that living/believing this way will bring about a life of emotional pain. He knows this is a losing cause.  He knows this path leads to a bad life. And He wants you to live with wonderful thoughts/beliefs/emotions of peace, joy and contentment.  Not burdensome thoughts/beliefs/emotions of obligation, fear (of God’s expectations) and fatigue.

I had a Pastor friend who had a Pure Grace awakening before I did – while I was still largely pursuing self righteousness.  I didn’t understand his viewpoint very well but we discussed them at length many times. One day he said something that shocked me big time.  He said, “You should never do anything you don’t want to do.”  Well, all I did all day long every single day!!! was to do things I really didn’t want to do.  But I believed they were right to do!  So I did them consistently. This was self righteousness, to a large degree.

This was his way of trying to help me see I was missing the blessing of God’s Pure Grace.  He was trying to help me see this by showing me my self righteousness.   If I had believed at the time what my Pastor friend told me, my whole life would have fallen apart (and ultimately it did but I was raised to new Life – talk about that later).   He was tugging at the true foundation of my whole life.  And to a great extent I had it wrong.  He was right. But I couldn’t see it.  I didn’t believe it. It was threatening. I was sure he couldn’t be right on this.  It made me angry. But eventually I started understanding this Truth about 2 years ago.

CONCLUSION: Self righteousness usually masquerades well as Love. Self righteousness, looking like Love, will certainly get you TONS of kudos from your “Christian” friends who watch all of your great accomplishments.  It might also give you temporary peace of mind because you think you’re doing what you’re supposed to do. But it is a counterfeit of the Love as referenced in 1 Cor. 13: 3.   And it will NOT effortlessly bring about the Fruit of the Spirit.  Or a joyful life (joy, of course, is a Fruit of the Spirit).

So, let’s move onto the next topic as we’ve planned.  WHAT IS LOVE?  NEXT POST COMING SOON.

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2 thoughts on “THE RIDDLE OF 1 CORINTHIANS 13:3 –WHAT IS REAL LOVE? – SOLVED! Part 1.

  1. HI Rick,

    You said: “Self righteousness usually masquerades well as Love. Self righteousness, looking like Love, will certainly get you TONS of kudos from your “Christian” friends who watch all of your great accomplishments. It might also give you temporary peace of mind because you think you’re doing what you’re supposed to do.”

    Great topic. I think you’re hitting on the vast contrast between religion and relationship. Religiousness is all about how things appear, how it looks externally. Remember Jesus admonished on this, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.” That’s religion. Doing something for how it looks. It’s a spiritual issue, a Spirit of Religion that permeates Christianity. And it’s evil. Because it supplants (is a substitute for) relationship with God. He wants intimacy, togetherness, Knowing, Adoration and 100% surrender. Not religious activities.

    But these religious activities are extremely satisfying to the flesh of man. Which is why we have a religious system filled with unbiblical things like men’s titles ..Dr.. Pastor, Reverend, Clergy etc etc etc when Jesus says in Matthew 23:8 DON’T DO IT. And yes, this is a whole other subject but an important “symptom” of something far deeper. A religious deception that has blinded nearly everyone.

    So yes, we will always get kudos from religious people for doing religious works. Of course. And you are right, this is counterfeit love. Love for the flesh instead of love for God. What I’m trying to sort out is why I have this “thing” in me that won’t cut loose of flesh. I do so love feeling self righteous! There I said it. And hate it all the more. I do try to do more, to be more serving, to be more everything, to get all stressed out that I’m not where I want to be. (durable peace and joy) And yet, the word tells me in Romans 8 that I’m precisely where Jesus blood has bought me – in victory and that it’s a done deal. I want to believe it but I also want to FEEL it. ugh

    37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. 38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can’t, and life can’t. The angels can’t, and the demons can’t. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can’t keep God’s love away. 39 Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    I was praying yesterday and heard His voice say this:
    “Just believe what I’ve said.”

    We really have nothing to worry about.

  2. BETTER THAN EXPECTED 2013: First, I want to tell you that this was beautifully and clearly written. I mean that. You’d be a good blogger once you get your “message” that is burning in your bones. There’s somewhere in Jeremiah where he says that the message he has is actually burning his BONES so he has to tell everyone. That’s how I feel. That’s why I blog. I’d probably explode if I didn’t. Perhaps my gall bladder would land on your front porch in North Carolina.

    SKYLLA: You said: “Self righteousness usually masquerades well as Love. Self righteousness, looking like Love, will certainly get you TONS of kudos from your “Christian” friends who watch all of your great accomplishments. It might also give you temporary peace of mind because you think you’re doing what you’re supposed to do.”
    Great topic. I think you’re hitting on the vast contrast between religion and relationship. Religiousness is all about how things appear, how it looks externally. Remember Jesus admonished on this, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.” That’s religion. Doing something for how it looks. It’s a spiritual issue, a Spirit of Religion that permeates Christianity. And it’s evil. Because it supplants (is a substitute for) relationship with God. He wants intimacy, togetherness, Knowing, Adoration and 100% surrender. Not religious activities.

    BETTER THAN EXPECTED 2013: Most of us do pretty good at not showing off blatantly with our religious activities. We’re too prideful and fleshly to let THAT happen. Do you get what I’m saying? But, inside, we glow even when we do something “good” or “Christian” that we did in PRIVATE! We think that somehow we are pretty OK because we not only did something good, but we told no one. Yippee! We’re doubly righteous, we think!!! It’s all self righteousness. Be aware of this more common and insidious self righteousness. But the way to fix this is not by human effort. It’s by believing rightly. This is a crucial Truth for you to get if you already don’t get it.

    SKYLLA: But these religious activities are extremely satisfying to the flesh of man. Which is why we have a religious system filled with unbiblical things like men’s titles ..Dr.. Pastor, Reverend, Clergy etc etc etc when Jesus says in Matthew 23:8 DON’T DO IT. And yes, this is a whole other subject but an important “symptom” of something far deeper. A religious deception that has blinded nearly everyone. In my view, very, very, very, very accurate and insightful. So yes, we will always get kudos from religious people for doing religious works. Of course. And you are right, this is counterfeit love. Love for the flesh instead of love for God.

    BETTER THAN EXPECTED 2013: Wow. You have lots of Truth. I’m glad. Life can be incredibly joyful for you as you grow.

    SKYLLA: What I’m trying to sort out is why I have this “thing” in me that won’t cut loose of flesh. I do so love feeling self righteous! There I said it. And hate it all the more. I do try to do more, to be more serving, to be more everything, to get all stressed out that I’m not where I want to be. (durable peace and joy)

    BETTER THAN EXPECTED 2013: Perhaps I can respond using non-biblical terms for a sentence or two. I’ll say this: “To get the kid to give up his toy gun, give him a puppy.” We all need a puppy. We have a hard time letting go of our “toy” (pleasing the flesh) until something else that is obvious and way better captures our affections. And that is a full knowledge of the Grace of God which is different and better than almost anyone thinks.

    SKYLLA: And yet, the word tells me in Romans 8 that I’m precisely where Jesus blood has bought me – in victory and that it’s a done deal. I want to believe it but I also want to FEEL it. Ugh

    BETTER THAN EXPECTED 2013: I know how to feel it. Perhaps I can teach you. When I don’t feel it, I know exactly what to “work on” so I can feel it. And it’s not that mysterious. Not feeling it means that we are missing or wrong about some portion of the Truth of God. If that thought is not impactfully clear to you, I’d like to talk on the phone to make sure we connect on it. It’s a big key to getting your “puppy”. It’s pretty simple but seems hidden to most Christians I’ve known.

    SKYLLA: 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. 38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can’t, and life can’t. The angels can’t, and the demons can’t. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can’t keep God’s love away. 39 Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
    I was praying yesterday and heard His voice say this:
    “Just believe what I’ve said.”
    We really have nothing to worry about.

    BETTER THAN EXPECTED 2013: In closing: If we know the Truth and if we can believe it, life can be so incredibly great that we feel like in some miraculous way we already have one foot inside the gates of heaven. I’m living that to a significant extent. But I’m still new at this. It gets better. Our addictions are no longer needed because we are already so happy. And my mentors say it just gets better. Very happy to talk phone for detail if you ever want. I can tell you (you may know) how to practice believing what God says is True so Fruit abounds and life gets incredible.

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