Love Holds the Key

Some of my favorite stories involve time periods where guards protected castles and all they stood for with fierce loyalty. The stories include bravery and courage. They show strength that goes well beyond what seems possible. Most importantly, these qualities are wrapped in love shown as compassion toward others.

Picture a guard in armor with this sense of duty as you read some of Paul’s closing words in 1 Corinthians. The terms used here are military words, and making that connection gives a better depth of understanding about how to live for Christ.

“Be on guard. Stand true to what you believe. Be courageous. Be strong. And everything you do must be done with love.” (1 Corinthians 16:13-14)

This verse expressed succinctly show how to carry out all of what Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians.

Be on guard.

Watch so you’re not surprised by the enemy. Attacks and challenges will come at some point. Be ready for them. Always be in full armor.

Stand true to what you believe.

Know what you believe and why you believe it. Refuse to compromise. Fix your faith in the Gospel. Determine to keep your ranks unbroken.

Be courageous.

Be brave. Don’t flinch when attacked. Maintain your ground. Resist! Press forward. Refuse to let fear of failure or criticism stop you.

Be strong.

True strength comes from God. Even in weakness, we are strong if He is our focus. Maintain your position.

Everything done in love.

Without love, everything is pointless. We only serve ourselves if love is absent.

As a Christian, I know the key to successfully living out Paul’s words falls at the end — “let everything be done in love.” First, I know it because Jesus himself declared love the most important command for us to follow.

“What commandment is the foremost of all? Jesus answered, ‘And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Mark 12:30-31)

Second, I know it because my favorite stories, and even more so many real life ones, show these qualities carried out both in love and in the absence of love. Strength, courage, standing true, being on guard all lead to evil’s victory in the absence of love.

Love truly holds the key to victoriously living for Christ.

6 thoughts on “Love Holds the Key

  1. I love LOTR and Narnia. Not familiar with the other one pictures. However, I often picture my spiritual life as a battlefield. I need a Guardian, someone who not only has my back but is also the first line of defense the enemy has to deal with. Thanks Kari.

    • The third one is a book series, not a movie yet. I should have included the Kingkiller Chronicals though. It's another book series as good as LOTR. Recently, the battlefield visual has become more real to me, and I'm getting better at putting on my full armor every day and sort of using it as a checklist for a regular spiritual status check.

  2. "Know what you believe and why you believe it." Excellent point. I also add that we should be open to diving deeper and digging up revelations that will anchor our beliefs – and from time to time reshape what we believe. We should always be pushing our boundaries to understand our relationship with God,recognzing it is a life-long quest and He will reveal more and more as we are prepared to understand what we yet do not know,but need to discover. Like in a race,whenever we settle into the pack,we tend to find ourselves drifting further behind the leaders rather than maintaining our position. We should push ourselves with our eyes on the finish line,not the competition in the race. Thanks Kari!

    • I have been pushing a lot of "know what you believe and why you believe it" in our Adult CEH class at church. I'm seeing it as so important, and increasingly so actually. I agree with being challenged & pushing ourselves too. The Holy Spirit will lead the way, God will direct that path, if we allow Him to and trust His leading. Thanks, Coach.

  3. We need to place a high priority on loving God AND other people. This includes everyone and not just people of faith. Loving the person does not mean we have to agree or like the sin a person is in. Love wins!

    • Love should be our highest priority. No exceptions. The problem comes when people look at love as simply a feeling. Love is actually an action, and sometimes it requires the toughest actions we can take.

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