Wednesday, December 15, 2010
1 Corinthians 16
13 Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. 14 And do everything with love.
The theme of love wrapping up every gift of service continues. In another version, Paul's words say "Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong". Be alert - in love, stand firmly placed in the faith - in love, be full of courage and act like men - in love, be strong - in love. Be a warrior ready for battle; but in love.
These seem like oxymoronic commands. Armed and dangerous; but acting in love. When you consider his words from verse 9, for a wide door for effective service has opened to me, and there are many adversaries, the war admonition is much more understandable. Perhaps the difficult part is the love. Do it all in love. Remembering the prime directive of God's love going out to the world through His Only Son, Jesus Christ, love again makes sense...but how to braid the two opposing themes for a path of honor?
An adversary of God exists. All that God is and desires, that adversary despises and wants to possess or destroy. What God desires is for humanity to love Him the way He created them to love Him and to love others like they love themselves. Adversary and love...the objects of God's love are commanded to love; but because we are the focus of His love, we are in the cross-hairs of the adversary's targeting system of annihilation. So, be empowered, ready and intelligent; persist and contend for the faith, be audacious and undaunted with your enemy and regarding love. Don't be foolish with your devotion or battle-preparedness.
These questions come to mind: am I careful to not confuse the adversary with the beloved? How do I prepare to stand strong for the Truth? How do I ready myself for battle everyday? How do I ready myself for love everyday?