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After Love

Click here to read I Corithians 14 on BibleGateway.com

Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy – I Corinthians 14:1

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First comes love,
then comes marriage
Then comes what’s-his-name with a baby carriage.

Is there any higher form of ironic mockery in the first grade repertoire? Many times was my face flushed with the fiery crimson of embarrassment at the jeering. And only half of it was because I was secretly hoping there might be some actual smoochaliciousness happening. Alas, much to the disappointment of my elementary self, there was very little lip action until much later in life.

Funnily enough, I never really thought about what came next. I think I pretty much stopped after the thought of locking lips, and never thought about what one did with love afterwards (no, not that. That’s for the grown up post). What I mean is, what happens after love?


I Corinthians 13 is quoted almost universally in wedding services (love is patient, love is kind, and so forth), but we all know that the original book of First Corinthians didn’t have chapters, so really chapter 13 just flows right into chapter 14. So if we look at chapter 14, the first thing is “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy.”

True love doesn’t stop with love. It is not an end to itself. Does love just stop with acceptance no matter what? Does love just let us do whatever we want, to ourselves and to our beloved? Of course not. No one would suggest that. Love leads into something else. It leads into spiritual intimacy, it leads into gifts of the spirit, it leads into prophecy.

Fair enough, what is prophecy then? We tend to have this vague idea that prophecy is about telling the future, but that’s only a small part of it. Looking at First Corinthians 14 again, we see that prophecy is for building up others, specifically as “the secrets of their heart is laid bare.” I’m not going to get into all of the gifts of the Spirit here, but let’s paraphrase by saying that a believer filled with the Holy Spirit and God’s Word have a sense of reality and wisdom, and it helps us builds up others at their very heart, the very center of who they are.


So if that is the case, and God is love, what comes next? Because God is love, and God loves us, prophecy must follow. The point of prophecy is edify us and to make us more Christlike – hence the point of love is to draw us closer to Christ, otherwise it is just self-serving or uncaring. Thus because of God’s love, He doesn’t just stop with us how we are, but works with us and in us to make us who we were created to be (this is also how love in marriage is supposed to work, but we are less awesome at it because of our own selfish sin, which God doesn’t have to deal with. Which is why the the best way to love your spouse is learn more about God’s love.)

People ask “why doesn’t God just accept how I am?” The answer, as it always is, is because He loves you. Loves you so much, that He won’t just stop at a shallow acceptance, but will draw you closer to who you are meant to be, and ever deeper into Love. True love will challenge you, it will build you up, and bring out the best in you, even the best you don’t see in yourself.

Anything less is not Love.

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