Beyond the Gospels: Corinthians

Today’s Scripture: 1 Corinthians 16:12-24
[Click the reference above to read online.]

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith;
be courageous; be strong.
Do everything in love.
1 Corinthians 16:13-14
All these are commands. Necessities. Imperative actions of the church.
Be on guard, stand firm, be courageous, be strong, do everything in love…?
Hmmm. It sounds a little contradictory.
To be on guard is definitely a defensive stance. Watchful. How do you do this in love?
The same with standing firm and being courageous and strong. These are tough words. Love is a soft word. Or at least we think of it as soft.
Jesus, God incarnate, fully God, fully man did everything in love. God is love, therefore so is Jesus. Did we see Him be on guard? standing firm in the faith? courageous? strong?
He was watchful over the temple, His Father’s house. In love He swept it clean of crooks and swindlers (Matthew 21:12-13).
He was watchful over the teachers of the law, the Pharisees. He called them blind guides, hypocrites, white-washed tombs, brood of vipers (Matthew 23:13-36) in love. 
He stood firm in the faith, courageously strong, all the way to the cross. In love.
Love led Jesus to the cross.
Love held Jesus to the cross.

Maybe we need to question our understanding of love.

The greatest commandment calls us to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. First and foremost we must love the Lord, guard His ways in the world, be watchful for what’s taught in His house, be strong, courageous, faith-full out of love for Him.

Is love for God what motivates you?

Jesus says the next greatest commandment is like the first: love your neighbor, love others, as you love yourself. When we love God rightly, we can’t help but love people rightly.

Is your love for God changing the way you love those around you?

Jesus wouldn’t allow His Father’s house to be used for something other than His glory. In love He cast out all who profaned His Father’s name by using the temple wrongly.

Jesus called out the Pharisees and teachers of the law who were not practicing what they preached. Is it loving to leave someone in a place of sin? In love, Jesus told them in the only way they might hear. A way that loved God and the people He created.

Love God. Love others.

Do everything in love.
He commands it.
Father God, teach me this love. Enable me to love like Jesus.
Watchful over Your church, firm in faith, courageous and strong.
Teach me to lay down my life in love. 
Teach me what real love in You is.

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