By Robert Halsey Pine
“Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-13 NRSV).
Paul keeps reminding us that because we do not know all things, we must press hard to put ourselves closer and closer to God. He says here in part, “But when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end.” Our tiny bit of knowledge and understanding of the Lord will be as nothing compared to the complete.
I’m sure that you’ve heard the saying that, “a little bit of knowledge is dangerous.” That’s why it is so important for us to submit to the Lord and get as much of the “me” out of our relationship with Him as possible.
We must abandon ourselves to the Lord. That is the only way we can achieve the proper portions of faith, hope and love in our lives. Paul tells us that these are the abiding characteristics that will help move us from the partial to the complete. He says that, “the greatest of these is love.” True agape love is required to make things happen. It is the fuel that will take us from the partial to the complete.
Christian love, as C.S. Lewis tells us in his book Mere Christianity, is not about emotion or feelings but about the will. We can’t always feel good about everyone we meet, but through our will we can love them as we love ourselves. Jesus told the inquiring Pharisees that the second great commandment was to “Love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:39 NRSV).”
Lewis strongly suggests, “Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did…When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him.”
Father God, teach me to love my neighbor as I love myself. For I know that I am sinful and unlovable at times, and I still love myself. I pray that I may offer Christian love to all. AMEN.
Robert Halsey Pine was born at Newark, Ohio in 1943. He is a graduate of Northeastern University and completed the program of Theological Education by Extension: Education for Ministry, School of Theology, the University of the South.