What could go wrong?

Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you’ve got, be resolute, and love without stopping. (I Corinthians 16:13-14)

Keep your eyes open. The eyes are the window to the soul - they give insight into the condition of the man in what they reveal. Having our eyes opened is the beginning of seeing. Try to see with your eyes closed! You probably do a poor job of actually avoiding the hazards in your path when you do! Eyes have the purpose of allowing input - taking in what they behold, interpreting that input as either pleasant or not, beneficial or not, or even beautiful or not. The eyes are the gateway into a man's heart - the input we receive moves us in some respect. It is almost impossible to take input without some form of output! We are asked to remain in a position of taking in what God puts in our path. Be vigilant and aware, for in being alert, we can respond to what we receive as input. We can plan our escape, our response we will have in the moment. Maintain, cause to continue, so as to set the course. Our eyes have a lot to do with the course we keep. Whatever we choose to focus on will go a long way in affecting how we take all the other steps God asks us to take!

Hold tight to your convictions. A conviction is more than just some clever theory or persuasive fact. A conviction is a fixed or firm belief - it has some basis - roots which give it soundness. When the right stuff is entering through our vision, we begin to form sound convictions - we have all the right evidence to present. The action associated with convictions is that of "holding tight" to these convictions. We need to know what gives our "case" foundational truth. Some evidence is weak at best. Other evidence is so strong, it cannot be denied. Hold onto the truth we have been given so as to have an undeniable foundation upon which we base our lives. Give it all you've got. The idea of being something of worth, value, and importance is in view here. Come to the place of realizing your fullest potential. All we've got - not part - is what God says is called for in this life of serving Jesus. Ever serve someone half-heartedly? How'd that make you feel? Do you think the one being served knew you were only half-interested in serving them at that moment? Probably! The action required is that of "giving" - present willingly and without expectation of compensation. I wonder what this world would be like if we began to equate being all we could be with what it is we could willingly give without the expectation of some form of compensation as a result of our service?

Be resolute. To be set in purpose - not easily swayed - this is the idea presented next. Taken in order, if we have our focus correct, allowing the right stuff to be taken in, we will form the right basis of evidence in our lives which will cause us to begin to act differently toward others (and even ourselves). To this, God adds we are to be set in our purpose - fixed, determined, unwavering, undaunted by what life throws at us. When the preponderance of evidence is significant, the ability to "stand behind" the evidence is easier than when there is very little evidence, right? What gets us to the position of being able to be resolute? I think it is in the building up of the evidence in our lives of being new creations in Christ - realizing the actions of grace within our lives. Each action of grace gives us some additional evidence upon which we ground our convictions - we stand stronger by the revelation of grace. Some will say grace is that which was undeserved. You would be correct, but even the best of attorneys will tell you evidence discovered in the most unlikely places or by the most unlikely means is still evidence! We can stand undaunted by life - by grace.

Love without stopping. Can anyone actually do anything without stopping? I tire easily, how about you? Yet, there are some involuntary things which occur within my body which continue to occur without thought or action on my part - like my heartbeat or my breathing. I can hold my breath, but there is some overriding impulse center in my brain which tells my body to begin to take a breath before it is too late. Why? Simply because life is sustained by these actions. I am not presenting the love being an "unthinking" action. It is quite the opposite - it requires we are "invested" in its actions. When something becomes a way of life for us, the "thought" we put into those actions is almost automatic. We just do it because it is what we do. God might just be telling us to make love such a way of life that we love without really having to work ourselves up in order to love. It becomes "natural", free-flowing from a heart which has been convinced by the love and grace of God. If we actually take all these five principles together and begin to focus our lives on each action, we might just learn to walk a little differently. Just sayin!

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