1 Corinthians 16:1-24 Paul exhorts in his letter to the Corinthians that everything we do be done in love. What a great idea! Actually this is not an idea at all. It is a commandment. Jesus summed up the whole law in two commandments—love the Lord your God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself. If love were our motivation in everything we did, our lives would be blessed.
I often say to my husband, "Life would be so easy if people would just love one another." Most of the difficulties we have in our relationships with others are because we have pride or a selfish attitude. We are easily offended because we are not walking in love. We become bitter in trials instead of better because we are not walking in love.
One of my dearest prayer partners always spoke on love whenever she was called to speak at a meeting. She said love never fails. I do not believe the body of Christ needs more teaching. I believe they simply need to focus on these two commandments. If they did this, the world would take note. The mark of a Christian, Frances Schaeffer said, is love. "See how they love one another" was a statement made about the early church. I pray it is a statement that can be made about the church today. Church splits always happen for one reason. Pride raises its ugly head, and no one is willing to humble himself and ask forgiveness. What a testimony it would be if those who have left the local bodies came back and said, "I want to ask your forgiveness. I was wrong to cause division in this church."
When the world sees churches splitting and leaders in moral sin, the world can say with grounds, "The church is filled with hypocrites." When there are differences between husband and wives, the root of the problem is always pride. Pride is the great enemy of love, and we need to constantly pull down any stronghold of pride in our own lives. Love covers a multitude of sins also. The nit-picking that goes on in churches would cease if we walked in love. Listen carefully to Paul's exhortation to the church: "Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love" (vv. 13-14).
I believe Paul was saying, "Quit acting childish, and act with maturity." A young child is selfish in nature and cries when he can't have his way. It is time for the church to rise up like men and be willing to even lay our lives down for one another if needed—what a revolutionary idea. Once again, this is not an idea. Jesus said the man who is willing to lose his life would gain his life. Are you willing to lose for the sake of love?
Lord, forgive me for the times I have allowed my selfish pride to stand in the way of love. Help me to constantly pull this stronghold down in my life and give me the grace (Your supernatural ability) to walk in love always.
READ: Job 16:1-19:29; 1 Corinthians 16:1-24; Psalm 40:1-10; Proverbs 22:1