Andrew Bee • February 13, 2021
“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.
Let all that you do, be done in love.”
Today we’ll wrap up 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 focusing on LOVE. And the timing is perfect with Valentine’s Day upon us.
This last sentence is an interesting end to the rather militaristic and macho image we might get from the first sentence. “Let all that you do, be done in love.” When I memorized these verses, I used the NIV (New International Version), which translates this sentence “Do Everything In Love.” The difference is a small one, and frankly, I prefer the sound of the NIV. Yet, I find that the way the ESV renders this sentence is helpful for 3 reasons.
#1 - Biblical Love Is Spirit-Empowered
Nike’s long-time slogan “Just Do It” resonates. That’s one reason Nike has become an enormous company. As driven men, who like getting things done, it is easy to jump to “doing” things, “Just Do It.” But Paul’s emphasis in this sentence isn’t on getting things done. Paul’s focus is on allowing or letting love permeate all that we do.
Recently I was convicted of this. I was in the middle of a project and was feeling good about getting things done. As I was feeling good about myself, I became aware that I was also having critical thoughts about others who had worked on the project before me. I realized that while I may have been “doing” the thing well, I was not doing ALL I was doing in love.
The bible declares that God is love. He is the source of love and expresses perfect love. He is the definition and standard of love. The only way we can love like God is to become like Him through the loving and redeeming work of Jesus Christ and the powerful, life-giving work of the Holy Spirit.
I was convicted of my critical thoughts by the Spirit of God and reminded that the only way I can “let all that I do, be done in love” is by allowing God’s love to flow through me by the Holy Spirit. Which also means not hindering the flow of God’s love through me by sin and selfishness.
#2 - Love is Motivator and Qualifier
Valentine’s Day may motivate us to express love in ways we don’t tend to every other day. Love is a powerful motivator. But, love is also a qualifier. It informs how we do the things we do.
We see this powerfully in the work of God in the world. For God so loved the world THAT... God was motivated by love. There were many ways God could have demonstrated his love for us. Love not only motivated His expression, but it also qualified it. His action was loving. He sent his one and only Son to pay the price for our sin so that anyone who believes in the Son of God will have everlasting life.
Paul has both motivation and qualification in mind here, but not merely our love but God’s love through us. The love of God and love for God motivates us to love like God.
#3 - Huge Impact
Paul calls us to let the love of God motivate us and flow through us to others in ALL that we do and how we do it. Paul defines LOVE in 1 Cor. 134-8, a famous passage, so chances are you’ve heard it before. He concludes the chapter by saying: “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” I take that to mean that love is what people are going to remember over time. Love is what impacts people.
As we have looked at each phrase of this passage, we have considered what it means to “be watchful,” “To stand firm in the faith,” “To be courageous,” and to “be strong.” Those qualities and characteristics in our lives rise and fall on LOVE. If we desire to make a lasting impact on our families, friends, church, and the world, evaluating and growing in love is the answer.
This week, I encourage you to read through 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 and write out a short sentence defining each of the qualifiers Paul uses. For example, Paul begins with “Love is patient.” So, what is patience? I hope you will take it from there. Once you have written out your definition, spend some time prayerfully evaluating if those qualities and descriptions or love characterize ALL that you do. If you find that love doesn’t characterize ALL that you do. You’re not alone. I am right there with you. Yet God is calling us to love, and we can start somewhere. Ask God to show you one way you can grow in love this week. God is love, Jesus loved perfectly, and the Spirit is working in all of us to love like that. God invites us to find grace and the power to love in Him. Let’s be intentional about growing in love by the Spirit so that more and more we “let ALL that we do, be done in love” and can make a lasting impact as men.
I continue to pray each week for you, men at meadows. I am thankful for each of you!
-- Pastor Andrew