13:1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
All the gifts of the Spirit without love are nothing. Everything without love is nothing. Where was the love when the sick were treated as cursed and passed by or ignored? Where was the love when the Samaritans, their own flesh and blood were avoided like the plague? Where was the love when Jesus was rounded up and killed like a common criminal? Where was the love when God's people were sacrificing their own children? Where was the love when women were treated like cattle and when all other nations were treated like unwanted dogs?
Religion without love is not just missing a key ingredient. It is evil.
However Paul is making a different point. The Spirit gives gifts to us to help us reach people more effectively but there is a more excellent way to reach people - Love. Love will win where arguments fail. Love will win where miracles fail. Love will win where all the gifts in the world aren't enough. In fact all the gifts without love is just noise and distraction.
Ask the woman at the well what won her to God? Ask the blind man. Ask Peter what got him back on his feet after denying Jesus.
Love. Love wins.