Athlete, Do All You Do in Love
1 Corinthians 16:13,14 (NASB)
Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.
A Christian rookie on the team jumped into the team ministry activities as soon as he arrived. When roster cuts were made at the end of his NFL training camp, he was released and re-signed to the practice squad. That meant he practiced all week, but was sidelined on Sunday.
Discouraged and angry, he took another direction, trading Bible study nights for drunken outings. Over lunch I pressed him on the course he had taken and his future opportunities. He agreed with me, but walked away unmoved. Within a few weeks another team signed him off our practice squad and I never heard from him again.
That conversation still haunts me. I initiated the right conversation, but with the wrong attitude. I pushed him to change his behavior without regard for the struggle in his heart. I failed to love him. It remains a conversation for which I wish I could get a do-over.
Doing everything in love is the attitude we need in order to effectively apply this verse:
- Be alert, but not be judgmental or arrogant
- Stand firm, but not be contentious or argumentative
- Act mature, but not superior
- Be strong, but not hard or abrasive
- Do all in love, not in self-interest.
Paul’s challenge to do all in love is an important caution for how we stand firm in the faith on a team. Our competitive nature easily turns discussions into arguments, especially in the locker room. The goal becomes winning an argument, instead of a hearing.
The Scriptures tell us to stand firm on the truth, but with warnings about being contentious, quarrelsome or prideful. Doing everything in love begins with being respectful and understanding in the way we interact with others.
(Need some direction in living your faith in unwelcome places? Take a look at 1 Peter. Peter, known as the disciple with a quick tongue and a sharp sword, challenges believers to defend their faith in a godly manner.)
Tom Petersburg | www.catapultministries.org