Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love. (1 Corinthians 16:13-14)
Half the time I don’t respond with love towards others, or choose to love the people who are driving me crazy! Living in a world filled with unhappy, often demanding people makes it all too easy to rudely snap back. Responding in love is the last thing on my mind, especially when my buttons are being pushed. And yet, loving others is a command found over and over again in the Bible. 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 is one of my favorite of the “love verses” because it offers a simple, step-by-step on guide on how to do everything with love.
A 3-Step Checklist for Doing Everything with Love
1. Be on guard. As you go through your day, there will always be that certain thing that pushes your buttons and sends you into the deep end. So can you identify ahead of time what sorts of things make you mad?
You may not necessarily be able to avoid these situations, but if you know your tendency to overact when these buttons are pushed, you can prepare yourself to respond in a calm manner. By choosing to be “on guard,” you can plan how you’ll respond and ask God to help you have the right response, too.
2. Stand firm in the faith. By starting your day with your attention on God through time spent reading your Bible will not only give your day a more positive outlook, but you’ll also be able to “stand firm in the faith” when the little things start to bother you. I’m not saying you need to have an elaborate 45-minute Bible time, but putting in a little bit of time to get your heart and mind right with God is one way to stand firm in the faith. Beginning your day with God can be as simple as a 5-minute devotion and prayer time. Another idea, is to memorize 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 and put it up in on your bathroom mirror or the first place you go in the morning, as a reminder for the day.
3. Be courageous. Be strong. The world is filled with temptations and obstacles ready to tear us down. Sometimes those challenges hit us out of the blue. Other times, they are predictable. Being strong and courageous in the Lord is how we are to face all of the difficult circumstances, and sometimes difficult people, that cross our paths each day. We don’t need to cower and run away. Nor do we need to be aggressive and rude. We simply need to be filled with the courage and strength God gives us, and by doing so, we’ll also be able to respond in love.
Mastering these three steps is not a guarantee that we will be respond in love with everything that we do, but it will definitely move us in that direction. Yes, there are still going to those moments that we fail to respond in love, but if we keep this instruction from 1 Corinthians in mind, we’ll better prepared to love those God has put in our lives.
What does it look like to you to be on guard, stand firm in your faith, and be strong and courageous, so that you can do everything in love? (LEAH PULLIAM)