Tuesday, January 1, 2013

What Comes Before Everything

"Do everything in love." --I Corinthians 16:10

Maybe it's the skeptic in me, but every time I read a warm and fuzzy Bible verse I think to myself,"Yeah, but what was the context of this verse? What command or demonstration of faith or trial occurred in order to arrive at this "nice" instruction? Maybe it's not the skeptic: perhaps I desire to know the means by which we become obedient.

In this particular passage of Scripture, what the Corinthians are instructed to do before "everything in love" smacks of valor--be on your guard, stand firm in the faith, be courageous, be strong. I can only assume these are only a few of the prerequisites for doing EVERYTHING in love.

As you revisit your New Year resolutions this month, think about how your commitments affect others. For me, writing more involves reaching out to others with my words and experiences. The more connection we make with others, the more at risk we become for hurt and trouble but it is also opportunity for healing and restoration--which is why the more faith and courage we have to fortify our understanding and execution of love, the better.

Also, the instruction to do everything in love helps us to question our motivation. Paul also said to the Philippians,"Do nothing our of selfish ambition or vain conceit, rather in humility, value others above yourself."    What are your intentions within your interactions with others? Is your purpose to love them, value them, affect their lives? Are you thinking about the motives and intent of others in context of how they are affecting you or how you may affect them?

This is one of the considerations that has most affected my relationships with people.

I would encourage you this year to make a list of the people in your life with which there is or has been conflict or whom you have not forgiven. Then throughout the year, gain strength and freedom by working through forgiveness.

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