Sunday, March 15, 2009

do everything in love

In 1 Corinthians 16:14, Paul writes these words: "Do everything in love."

This is a verse I often miss because I'm not reading the chapter very carefully. It falls in the midst of Paul's personal greetings to the church in Corinth. It is a lot of names that I usually just skim, but I'm discovering that there are a lot of truths contained in these sections of Paul's letters - like 1 Corinthians 16:14.

Do everything in love.

This is how we should do all that we do. But, in reality, is it? Do we actually do everything in love?

In all honesty, I think followers of Christ today do a poor job and living this way. We'll give money and send other people overseas to love people. We'll agree with messages or books that tell us we need to love people. We'll read Scripture, which tells us that the greatest commandment is to love God and to love our neighbour as our self. We'll even talk about our need to do everything we do in love. But, we don't really do it! We talk about it, read about it, agree with it . . . but we don't often live it!

I think of the song They'll Know We are Christians by Our Love and seriously wonder if we can sing that. Does the world know we are Christians by our love? Especially in the West, we're known more for what we're against than for our love. If you ask the average person on the street what they think of when they think of Christians, I don't think our love will fall very highly on their list if it rates a mention at all. Yet, our love precisely what we should be known for! If we actually do everything in love, then that is what we would be known for. But sadly, we don't do everything in love.

We can still oppose things that happen in our world, but we must do it with love for the people affected by it. And it must go beyond just voicing our disagreement with what is going on. When we oppose things in our world, one of the ways we do it in love is providing an alternative and making that alternative happening. This gives us credibility as people who do care about others. We don't just say that something like abortion is wrong; we get involved in providing a place for the mothers and children to get the help they need rather than the child being aborted. Doing everything in love requires action on our part.

I believe that if we really began to take Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 16:14 seriously, our world would begin to change. If we truly did everything in love, we would be beginning to live the Kingdom of God out in this world. We would begin to change our world! But this change won't happen until we begin to consistently do everything in love. And it will take time. They way our world views us won't change overnight, but it will change over time if we begin to live in such a way that we do everything in love.


  1. Reading your post reminded me of this:

    People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

    If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

    If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.

    If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

    The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.

    Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.

    For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

    — Mother Teresa

    In the last couple years God has been teaching me to relax, to let go, to have peace when He takes things away. To accept with confidence that He is pleased with me and we are at peace, regardless of what I have or haven't done, all that I am and all that I am not.

    Don't blame yourself, my dear, just do as God asks you. And if He isn't asking anything, just rest or read, or hang out. Pursue and complete each task as he assigns it to you. Don't be burdened by other people telling you what you should or shouldn't be doing. Do what pleases your heart and brings you joy, according to the will of God. Do tings that you want to, and/or God asks you specifically. Enjoy your life. Love God. Be thankful for everything.

    We aren't responsible for what other people are or aren't doing. Its not our responsibility what people are saying about Christians, really. We are only responsible for ourselves, our behavior, and our heart towards God.

    I don't mean to critisize you at all; just to encourage you to have peace and to rest. Anxiety, subside and go away, In the name of Jesus. The enemy seeks to load us with burdens we cannot carry. Jesus came to set us free, and to give us rest.

    Love and prayers, your sister in Christ (and missing you...) Jodi

  2. Interesting thoughts Jodi! And so true!
    When I write things I'm thinking about, it's really just to challenge people with the truth of Scripture, not necessarily because I'm being hard on myself. I believe that Scripture does call us to a pretty high standard that we may not always meet. And that striving to and then feeling bad about it because we don't meet it is nto what we are to do. But, I don't see anything wrong with calling ourselves and other followers of Christ to a higher standard.

    I will unashamedly hld the message of Scripture and the standard to which we are called up as what it should be. Knowing that without God's help we don't have a chance of living up to it, and chances are we will fail to do so continually while we walk this earth. But, if we don't hold the standard up, then we will get comfortable with living in such a way that we blend in with the world around us, whic is not what we should be doing.

    PS - Miss you too Jodi!

  3. Agreed. That is one of my current struggles, how to pursue excellence and inspire others, and yet to love them and myself as we are. Also, to live graciously. It is so easy so say and desire, but hard when it comes to actually conveying these things in the day to day spontenaity of life. ~ J