Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.1 Corinthians 13: 8-12
Earlier this week I spent about an hour with a younger man who came to faith in Christ about five years ago. I listened as he described his steps toward maturity and how he maintains his focus now through leading and serving others. He recognizes the transformation in his life and so do the others around him.
As Paul continues his discourse on Love, he reminds us that our own lives are marked by transformation from childhood to adulthood. As an adult, I have better command over language. My thinking is more informed and I am able to reason at a different level than when I was four or five years old, but I am still lacking at so many levels.
But even though I have grown up, certain characteristics that define me remain. Likewise, Paul points out that while other spiritual gifts will come to an end when Christ returns (v. 12), the gift of love will last forever. It is this Christ-like love that will always define the follower of Christ.
So, are we growing in our love for Christ and for others? Am I maturing daily until that day when “I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known?”