1 Corinthians 16:14
Over the past several days, we’ve been talking about how to face chaotic times with courage. So, once you’ve identified the enemy, gotten your marching orders, and plucked up your courage, then what? Surprise attack? Storm into battle with guns blazing? Climb into your planes and tanks and blow the scum away? “Come on, we’re ready! We studied four commands in 1 Corinthians 16:13. What’s the final command?” There is a fifth one—in verse 14. You thought I missed that, didn’t you?
Here’s the fifth and final one: Always love! Whiplash! That’s not what we expected. That’s not what we wanted to do. You’re kidding, right?
“No, child. Always love. That’s the final word. That’s what I want you to do. Always love.” Always love.
And let me tell you who needs your love most of all—your lost friends. Our problem is, we can’t get along with, much less love, Christians. Then we try to haul our crippled principles to the lost world to keep them from drinking or smoking or cussing or gambling or whatever may be the dirty dozen on your list. And it doesn’t work. Why not? Hey, friends, it’s because they’re lost. They’re lost. I’m surprised more of them don’t use profanity. I’m surprised more of them don’t have affairs. They’re lost! They don’t need our oh-so-pious principles shouted in their faces. They need our Saviour’s redeeming love to embrace and hold them. Let true love find its way through all of these commands, and it is remarkable what a difficult target the enemy will have when he tries to take us on.
We’re together in this fight. But we are only as strong as your link in the chain. We’re only as alert as you are on your watch. We stand only as tall as you stand when you’re all alone. We are only as mature and wise as you are as a grownup. We are only as tough as you are when you face the enemy.
And we’re only as loving and gracious as you are when surrounded by those who are neither.
Let’s talk about that love.
In the final analysis, it is the love that infuses us with the courage to face the enemy down. It is the love of God coursing through us as conduits to the terrorized world that dries our eyes, stiffens our backs, and sends us out as soldiers and comrades and family—standing shoulder to shoulder and arm in arm for right and justice and freedom, It is the love that lifts the flag of faith high and leads heroic hearts into the heat of battle. It’s this kind of love that wins the war, not hate.
It’s the love that keeps us faithful and strong, even while we wonder, “Why, God?”
It’s the love—the undaunted, unending, glorious, unbeatable, victorious love—that overcomes the enemy.
It’s the love.
Don’t you see it? Can’t you feel it?
It’s the love.
Excerpted from Day by Day with Charles Swindoll, Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.