If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have 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 do not have love, I am nothing.
[For full text, click I Corinthians 13 above.]
Let’s assume I have good intentions, and my wishes for prophetic powers, perfect understanding and knowledge, and abiding faith are all answered. All I lack is love – meaning good things for others and sacrificing to bring them to fruition. I could still do so much good if I don’t use my gifts to harm, couldn’t I?
Doubtful. Not because I couldn’t accomplish amazing things, but because I’ll miss the point and purpose of those amazing things. Intelligence, knowledge, accurate prediction, and belief aren’t enough. Add them all up, and they still won’t give me the one thing I need: wisdom.
Wisdom assumes love – it’s why there are evil geniuses but no evil wise women and men. If I perform miracles without love for every living thing, I’m likely to manipulate others rather than invest in their uniqueness.
Wisdom recognizes limitations. Amazing abilities take their toll if fueled only from personal resources. The well runs dry eventually because no one is meant to live outside loving relationships with God and others. A car with an empty tank cannot fulfill its potential, even if it’s a top-of-the-line model.
Without love, I would be destroyed by my own abilities, a null and void self – nothing. God being gracious to everyone else, whatever I did manage to accomplish would bring blessing. God being gracious to me, creating me to be something rather than nothing, the wish wouldn’t be granted in the first place.