1 Cor. 16:13-14
Vs 13 Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.
Vs 14 Let all that you do be done in love.
Paul is drawing his letter to the Corinthians to a close. This is the final chapter so he’s giving his final instructions to the church.
Paul lists many different orders for many different people.
It’s almost like Paul is a football coach giving everybody their route to run on the play.
Timothy, you go long. Apollos, you go short.
Stephanas, you run out and then come back.
But Paul is not just a coach on the sidelines.
He is very much on the field.
Should the Corinthians think Paul is just barking orders, Paul let’s them know that he is facing “many adversaries”.
Most importantly, Paul wants the Corinthians to know they are not spectators of the action.
They are participants. They are very much in the action and even necessary to everyone’s success.
They are also providing support to other “teams” in need with their generosity.
And now Paul, in his final instructions, gives his final words to pump up “the players” right before they run out of the locker room and take the field.
“Act like men!”
Yep, it it all sounds like the football coaches I’ve heard through out my life.
Until immediately after these statements, Paul says this:
“Let all that you do be done in love!”
Let all that you do be done in love?
This is not the instruction of a coach trying win a game.
This is the instruction of a new man with a new message trying to win the world.
What am I more concerned with?
What I look like on the outside?
Or what I am on the inside?
I like the instruction Paul gives in verse 13.
Those are easy to wrap my head around and “act out”.
“Act like men!”
I can do all these things … with my own rationalizations and justifications of why my actions may be watchful, or firm, or manly, or strong.
But Paul takes away the chance of my own spin on things when he tells me in verse 14, “Let all that you do be done in love”.
ALL?! ALL?! Really, Paul?!
As in everything? Everyday? All day? Be done in love!
Yeah, this takes something new. I can be strong, or alert, or even my own definition of manly when I want to.
But to do ALL is LOVE will take a changed heart.
I can’t do this with my own strength.
I can only do this with guidance and conviction of the Holy Spirit.
I can only do this while trying to imitate Jesus Christ.
What am I more interested in … winning a game? Or winning the world?
I can win a short term game by looking right on the outside.
I will lose the long term mission by being wrong on the inside.
What am I more concerned with … outer piety … or inner purity?
To do ALL in LOVE I must have a pure heart, not pious acts.
I must seek inner purity more than outer piety.
Thank you God for your love.
Thank you that you do all things in love.
Help me to be watchful and strong and stand firm
In Jesus name