Love at the Center

1 Corinthians 16:14
Let all your things be done with charity.

This verse is kind of like a “don’t forget” at the end of Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth.  He has told them many things about how to conduct themselves as believers in the church.  He’s encouraged them to grow, to trust the Lord, to forsake sin and to serve faithfully.  But the heart of what he wants them to do is here.  He wants them to remember that love is the essential ingredient of all those other things.  Whatever we do, love has to be the motive—love for God and His church and His people and His world.  Love has to enable all of it.  Love has to be the strong and steady foundation it is built on.

It was with great love that Paul wrote this letter to teach and remind and chasten.  It was with love that he started churches and continued to minister to them and dedicated his life to Jesus and His church and the people that make up those local bodies.  It was love that had carried him so far from that Damascus road.  It was love that kept him going through those difficult moments.  And he wants the same for these believers at Corinth.  He wants love to be at their center because it will change them and enable them to keep going, to be faithful and dedicate themselves fully to Christ and His work.

But more than that, love is at the center of all that God does.  His love sent us Jesus and brought us salvation and forgiveness and eternal life when we couldn’t have been more undeserving.  His love for us keeps Him reaching out to us through His Word and His Spirit.  His love supplies.  His love surrounds.  His love pulls us close and holds us tight.  It is the love of God that wants the same things for all of us that Paul wanted for this church, so in love, He chastens, encourages, reminds, teaches and leads us all along the way, every step of the journey.

Love produces purity because it pushes self aside and brings others to the forefront, and then there is nothing contaminating what we are doing.  And love is a driving force that is powerful enough to do things that we couldn’t otherwise do.  And when love is reigning in our hearts—God’s love—all manner of good can be produced from that.  So let us take this reminder to heart and make sure that love is at the center of all that we do.

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