Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love. (1 Corinthians 16:13-14 NKJV)
Paul wrapped up this first letter to the Corinthians with a beautifully succinct exhortation that described how we should live as followers of Christ. We’re to watch: watch for the second coming of Jesus, watch for opportunities to share, watch for opportunities to grow. We’re to stand fast in the faith. We do that by studying God’s word, by praying and talking with God, and by obeying God’s commands. We’re to be brave and strong. Let’s face it, people’s opinions can be intimidating. We want people to like us and sometimes we think that sharing the gospel with others will cause us to lose friends. In other countries, and in Paul’s day, it could even mean losing your life. We’re still called to be brave and strong in sharing our faith. The final part of that statement is vital – do all of it in love. Love is the binding force in all we do as Christians since our faith is based on God’s love for us.
It’s important to realize that Christians need to have balance in their faith. You can be theologically sound, you can be bold in your faith, and you can be fearless in sharing the gospel, but if you don’t have love you become a harsh voice in a world that needs the gentle touch of our loving Savior. On the other hand, you can be so full of love that you forget the truth of the faith that gives you that love. Some, in their attempts to love everyone, condone and accept all kinds of sin and variations from the truth. The only “standard” for some people is “love” and they accept and affirm all kinds of sin because “love” conquers all. As followers of Christ, our job is to know Him, to know and live His truth, and to love others no matter what. True Christian love, however, doesn’t overlook and affirm sinful behavior, it draws people to the love of God who will work in the hearts of those who turn to Him.
Lord, let my faith be balanced so that my beliefs and practices are in accord with Your word, but I always treat others with Your love, even when their beliefs and practices go against Your word.