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. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3 ESV)
The person who “has not love,” is nothing, gains nothing, and all that comes forth from their mouth amounts the fruitless noise of clanging symbols. I am picturing the toy monkey that rolls around with his jaw open, clanging symbols together every five seconds. This is a picture of our life if we “have not love.”
In tomorrow’s post I will seek to explain the following verses which define the quality of love. But for today it suffices to say that if we do not have this one quality, all other qualities that we may accumulate amount to nothing. Love is the one additive that is essential to make any action, quality, motive, or direction pleasing to God. If this one additive is missing, the entirety of the motion is displeasing to God, gains us nothing, and amounts to absolute zero. Love is the essential ingredient.