I've officiated many weddings over the last 25 years and without a doubt the most commonly quoted Scripture is 1 Corinthians 13. Famously known as, "The Love Chapter." We think of Paul's eloquent description as the ideal relationship full of patience, gentleness, believing the best with endless romance. The blueprint for the husband or wife of our dreams. But here's the thing - it's not about romantic love at all. In fact, if you were the intended audience when it was written, you would feel sharply corrected.
The Corinthian church was Paul's problem child. These early believers were dysfunctional, immature, selfish, stubborn and proud. They took the good things God gave them and used those things to create chaos. They even abused spiritual gifts by dividing them into "greater" and "lesser." Chapter 12 ends with these words, “And I will show you a still more excellent way” (1Cor 12:31).
From here, Paul begins his famous description of love—a gift greater than the ability to prophesy, fathom spiritual mysteries, and speak in other tongues. According to Jesus, the greatest command is to love God and love others as ourselves. It's the way the world will know we are his disciples. All that we are and all that we do is within the sphere of love. Love is the salve that heals relationships. Love is the defining attribute of a Christian. As always, the motivation comes from Jesus himself. We love because he first loved us!