Monday, September 8, 2008

Devotional: The Most Excellent Way

Notice how First Corinthians 12:31 reads, "But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way."   We know that the letters of First Corinthians and Second Corinthians are exactly that, letters. Paul is giving a thought here and he continues in chapter 13 to show us what that "more excellent way" is.  

What is that most excellent way?   It's the way of love.   The way of love is the way of God.   It's the higher way, the most excellent way.   The way of God is the way of the New Testament.   It is the way to respond and the way to live life.  

The Apostle Paul continues his thoughts on the "more excellent way" by telling us how that excellent way is.   Notice chapter 13 verses 4-8.  

"Love does not give up. Love is kind. Love is not jealous. Love does not put itself up as being important. Love has no pride. Love does not do the wrong thing. Love never thinks of itself. Love does not get angry. Love does not remember the suffering that comes from being hurt by someone. Love is not happy with sin. Love is happy with the truth. Love takes everything that comes without giving up. Love believes all things. Love hopes for all things. Love keeps on in all things. Love never comes to an end."   (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 The New Life Translation)

God's ways are different from our carnal, natural ways.   Your flesh and my flesh want to do "their" thing.   Like the old song, "It's your thing, do what you wanna do..."   We can yield to our way or we can yield to a more excellent way.   His way!   The right way is truly Love's way.   So much of the time we want to just say it's the way we "feel" when we're angry or upset or hurt.   Your flesh wants to do as it "feels" it should be done.   It's own way!   But don't you know that it will cost you.   We must yield to the more excellent way!  

Many of us do right things but, a lot of the time, we do it in a wrong way.   You can do a right thing in a wrong way.   Many times how we say something can make all the difference.   We can have all the right intentions but it come out wrong when we say it.   Again, you can do the right thing in a wrong way.   How you say it can make all the difference.   The Bible tells us to "speak the truth in LOVE."   (Ephesians 4:15)   We can share a truth much easier if we speak it in love.   In doing so, you make it palatable to the hearer.  

There is a "more excellent way", a "higher way". That way is the way of the Lord.   That way is the way of love.   Love is His way.   And His ways need to be our ways. With your spouse, you can do a lot better in your communications by asking a question instead of making a statement.   When you are walking in a "selfish way", a "self-centered way", you are not walking in the "higher way".   In the selfish way, you are not walking in His wisdom.   You are not being wise.   You are doing your thing and walking apart from His wisdom.   His way is always better.   The way of LOVE is the more excellent way!   Amen!  

Ephesians 4:29 tells us, "Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers."   The way of love edifies and imparts grace to the hearers.   If we can seek to do things the "God way" then we will be living the "Love way."  

We all know a lot in life.   We've learned many things.   Sometimes people can even be arrogant about their knowledge.   But we must understand that it is not what you know that will help people, it is what they will receive.   You really haven't communicated until someone has received.   Love's way can communicate the truth and make it palatable to the hearer so that they can receive it.   To do so you have to keep that old flesh in check and yield to the way of love.   God's way, the most excellent way!

It is so important that we maintain a tender heart in the things of God.   The opposite of being tender-hearted is being hard-hearted.   The Bible talks about how those with a hard heart are "blind" or walk in "blindness".   If you get into "hardness" of heart towards someone or a situation you can "dull" yourself to the Lord and the things of God.  

Romans 13:10 in the Amplified Bible says this, "Love does no wrong to one's neighbor [it never hurts anybody]. Therefore love meets all the requirements and is the fulfilling of the Law."   Love does no harm to its neighbor.   Your neighbor is anyone you are with, working with, serving with, family, friends, boss, etc. Love does no harm.   Again, there's "your way" and there is the "more excellent way".   Handle things in the "way of Love" That's the higher way.   That's God's way!  

The Bible compares our words to arrows.   Many of us fire arrows a lot and will say things like, "I didn't mean it."   "I didn't mean to say it like that!"   Yeah, but you know you did say it.   You shot that arrow!   You and I need to use our words the way HE uses words.   The higher way.   The most excellent way!   The right way is Love's way.   Remember what 1 Peter 4:8-9 "And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins." Be hospitable to one another without grumbling."

Love is the Master's way.   It is His way.   It is the higher way!   His ways are higher, and they need to become more and more our ways.   Amen.

Prayer:   Father, thank You for the great love that you have shown to me.   When I was wrong and doing wrong, You still, unconditionally, loved me. Thank You that I will seek to show that same love, Your higher way, to others.   Amen.