Pursing Nothing (I Corinthians 13-14)

If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, I gain nothing. I Corinthians 13:3

I cannot imagine spending my whole life in pursuit of things that in the end produce nothing. Now before you cut me off with a I don’t relate response, take a moment and look deeper in your life. We all have those past pursuits that merited nothing.

I think about projects where I completed a tough assignment to only look later at the fruit and realize it was not what I planned for it to be. I also think about the times when I was so short-sighted in my efforts. I realize how my heart was deceptive in telling me how my efforts were for others when at times they were really for me.

This morning I want to point you to Paul’s teaching which will both confront and challenge your pursuits in life.

Keep in mind, Paul’s teaching in these chapters are focusing on the correct use of our spiritual gifts. In chapter 13 Paul inserts the key ingredient for success in our pursuits. The key ingredient is love.

  • A love for God, Matthew 22:37-38. This love comes rushing into our lives because God has opened our hearts and minds to receive the seed of the gospel. His love becomes real to us, John 3:16. His love becomes real as we receive it.
  • A love from God, Gal. 5:22-23. The very first fruit of the Spirit is love. This love is spread abroad in our hearts for others. Paul gives us evidences of God’s love in I Cor. 13:4-7.

When the love of God is directing your life, you will engage in pursuits that honor God and seek to show honor to others. But without love one’s life will be filled with a pursuit of nothing.

Ask yourself, what am I pursuing? Be assured the heart is very deceptive. The heart will tell you that being busy is the ticked to success. The heart will tell you that the true rush of life comes as you simply serve yourself. The heart will tell you that you are already mature in Christ when in fact you are still an infant in Christ.

However, when the love of God is directing your path, you will become a transformed person who serves at the pleasure of the one who saved you. Paul begins chapter 14 with these words, “Pursue love…”

Oh how I want to do this with my whole heart. Oh how I want this for your life as well. Take a moment at the end of our time today and feast on John’s writings. They amplify what we have read today:

19 By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; 20 for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22 and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24 Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God,[d] and God[e] in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us. I John 3:19-24

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