Focal passage: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13
We all know that the motivation behind an action is very important.
Think about the daughter who stomps down the hallway, slams her bedroom door and then cleans her room, just to get mom and dad off her back.
Even if you go find the room cleaned neat as a pin, you are hardly consoled knowing the motivation behind the action.
Consider also the husband who “serves” his wife in some way, doing so only for what he hopes to get in return.
There is little consolation for the wife, not because the act of service isn’t appreciated, but because the motive for the act is clearly evident.
When Paul wrote 1 Corinthians 13 – which some believe is a hymn or composition Paul wrote and included in this letter, under the leading of the Holy Spirit – he did so to instruct the Corinthian believers regarding the motive of their heart from which their acts of service to God and one another should flow. Paul didn’t desire only to see right actions but rather to know that those actions were coming from a right heart, one that had been transformed to love like God loves.
The Corinthian believers had demonstrated their ability to act in self-serving ways – for example, by bringing lawsuits against other believers and by acting selfishly even at the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11).
Paul is exhorting them to let the transforming love of God be the motivation that drives all of their acts of service to God and others.
We will not “naturally” act out of a motivation of love – particularly a love that looks like God’s love for us.
It will have to be supernaturally accomplished – as the Spirit of God does His work first in us and then through us.
In fact, as the Holy Spirit transforms us to act out of love, we see evidence of His other fruit as well – joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
May our love for God motivate us to lovingly serve God and others, all for God’s glory!