Let all that you do be done in love.1 Corinthians 16:14(NASB)
Throughout his letter to the Corinthians, there are practical admonitions and little encouragements for the saints in Corinth to live lives that honour the Lord. Paul wanted all the believers there to grow in their Christian faith and to walk in spirit and truth. He tackled things that caused division within the church and exposed the foolishness of human wisdom, by contrasting it with the wisdom of God. He touched on marriage and related matters, and laid down principles of godly conduct. He discussed the importance of the Lord's Supper, the varieties of spiritual gifts and the supremacy of love.
Paul reminds the Corinthian believers of our blessed hope in Christ and opens our understanding to the resurrection of the dead and the certainty of our own resurrection, because Christ rose from the dead. It is as he draws his letter to a close, that Paul offers his concluding exhortation, which is beneficial for ALL who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus and to grow in grace and in a knowledge of our Lord and Saviour. "Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong," he urges, "and let EVERYTHING that you do be done in love."
Perhaps, this last exhortation from Paul to the saints in Corinth covers all his other directives and instructions, for when all that we say and do and think, is carried out in LOVE, it embraces every other lesson Paul taught. "Let ALL that you do be done in love."
It may be a simple instruction to the Church but it is one of the greatest challenges with which any of us can be presented, for it is the Holy Spirit of God Who calls us to live as Christ lived and to love as Christ loved. Such divine love is an impossibility in our own limited, human strength. It is only as the Holy Spirit is given sway to carry out His work within, that this impossible command can be carried out.
It is as we abide in Christ and He in us, that we begin to learn the lesson of love - godly love - sacrificial love. It is as we die to self in all things and live for Christ alone that we begin to be fashioned and formed into the lovely image of Christ. It is as we permit the Holy Spirit to carry out His good work in and through our lives, that we can become a channel through whom His love can flow out to others.
And in this final chapter of Paul's first letter to the church at Corinth, he exhorts the believers there, "let all be done in love." What a sublimely simple instruction to the Church of today, and yet what a profound depth of truth is contained within this uncomplicated and divine directive. Love is the fulfilling of the Law, and only as we allow the love of Christ to saturate our being, as we die to self and walk in spirit and truth, can this Christlike characteristic be executed.
This simple statement is sufficiently elementary for the youngest child to understand, and yet so lofty that man's combined wisdom is unable to scratch the surface of its true meaning, or plumb the depth of its wider significance. It stings the conscience of every man. It convicts the attitudes of humanity. It challenges the godliest saint and forever condemns the human race.
But this unreachable goal is the impossible command given to all believers, and it not only applies to the natural loving kinship within the inner nucleus of beloved companions and best-loved family members, but the beggar in the street, the thieving politician, the accusatorial religionist, the enemy at the gate, the scoffer of our faith, and those that despise, reject, hate, persecute, and kill us.
Every action and every attitude, every word and every work, each thought of the heart, each decision of the mind and even the motives that influence the choices we make, need to be bathed in the purifying gaze of the Holy Spirit, washed in the fountain of God's divine love and covered with the unconditional grace of Christ, Who for love of His church went to the cross willingly - so that like Him, everything we do, may be done through HIM - in LOVE.
Loving Father, I confess that in my own strength, it is impossible for me to carry out all that I say and do in love, but I know that it is possible in the strength and power of the Spirit of love. You have promised to pour Your love through me to others, so that I may love others as Christ loved me. Use me to be a vessel of love in the lives of all I meet today, knowing that it is Christ that loves through me and not me myself. In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN.