“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-2 ESV)

The Corinthians were proud of their individual spiritual maturity. They thought they possessed wisdom and right knowledge. They disdained the flesh and so were able to tolerate or approve sexual immorality, greed, selfishness, idolatry and rudeness. After all, they had the great gifts of prophetic utterances and speaking in tongues to prove how spiritual they were. Thus Paul’s words on love would have been quite shocking to them. Love, not speaking in tongues or prophetic utterances or any other gift is the true mark of the Christian. These gifts can be legitimate manifestations of the Spirit yet without love working in and through them, they are nothing more than a sham that insults and misrepresents the Lord.

We ought to learn from Paul’s wise words for what he says about love means it is the highest gift, it is the one gift we should all be manifesting and using every day of our lives. It is the essence of God Himself. Thus any other gift or talent is secondary to it including powerful preaching, administrative gifts, singing, or musical talent. If the believer is not living with love toward God expressed by love towards his fellow believers and all people, these gifts are useless.