1 Corinthians 16:14-“And do everything with love."
As Paul concludes his final instructions to the believers in Corinth, he says these 5 simple words, “ And do everything with love”. With these words, I’m reminded how Paul’s letter addressed the arguments and divisions that were happening in the church, I’m reminded of his rebuke of their “spiritual pride”, and I’m reminded of the elitist mentality he warned against in regards to spiritual gifts, and the remedy to all of these symptoms of the flesh could be found in these 5 simple words: “ And do everything with love.” Love, specifically God’s love, is the antidote to quarreling, to judging, and to pride. Love, specifically God’s love, is the cure to gossip, pettiness, and drama. Love, specifically God’s love, is the supernatural key to being forgiven and extending forgiveness, to bearing Kingdom fruit, and to living for Him. If the church of Corinth committed to “do everything with love” everything would have been very different.
I wish I could say I “do everything with love”, but the truth is that much of what I do, even much of what I do for God, isn’t always based on love. At times, my motivation is based on obligation while other times it’s based on selfish gain. Take the arguments I have with my wife as an example: those are often based on my fleshly desire to defend “my rights” and to justify my actions. It’s about me, and, if I were honest, it’s about me loving myself more than her. Speaking to her “with love” would motivate me to choose words that build her up and would pursue what’s best for her! Love is willing to bend, flex, and adjust in challenging situations. Love seeks the “fix” and not the blame. Love doesn’t point fingers but pursues peace. Love gives its best even when it doesn’t feel like it. I think it’s important to take note of how Paul says and does “everything” with love. We don’t get to pick and choose when we love. Whether serving God at church, or serving God at work, or serving God at home, there are no situations where we get to choose to not live out love. Whether it’s with people we like...or even people we don’t...God commissions us to “do everything with love”.
It’s Easter week where we celebrate Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice of love. It’s an undeserved free gift of grace that He gives, and once received He asks us to do the same “and do everything with love”. May I commit to responding to challenging situations, relational hardships, and even good times with a selfless sacrificial love as I seek to follow His example.
Jesus, please forgive me for living much of my life outside of love. Allow me to experience Your love to an even deeper level than I might extend that love to those around me. May the “cup of my heart” be so full of Your love that when challenges and hardships bump me Your love is what spills out. Please empower me to live for you “and do everything with love”. In Jesus’ name, Amen!