“Let all things be done decently and in order.” (1 Cor.14:40) “Let all things be done with charity.” (1 Cor.16:14) “Let all things be done unto edifying.” (1 Cor. 14:26)
As he comes to the end of First Corinthians, the Apostle Paul gives us three succinct, but powerful instructions on how to do things. How to conduct our lives, if you will. They are not profound as you read them, only as you live them. Putting the three together, we could paraphrase them something like this: We should live our lives in an orderly manner, characterized by love, with the goal of edifying others. How shall I guide my house? How should I conduct business? How can I best carry out the ministry God has given me to do for Him? The formula above will work with these and any other endeavors you may be called upon to fulfill. Now that we have put them together, let’s take them apart again.
“Let all things be done decently and in order.” Our God is a God of order, and the more like Him we become, the more orderly we will be. Not in a neurotic, rigid fashion that causes us and everyone around us to be uptight; but in a thought out, practical manner that causes those within our little realm to say, “My, that went well!”
“Let all things be done with charity.” We all know what a high premium God places upon those who have a well developed—and well regulated—love life. As our older son Andrew asks, “If charity (love) never fails, why do we try anything else?” Good question. Wholesome, mature, deep, abiding love can ease tense moments, break stubborn wills, and soften hard hearts. It should be injected to some extent into every situation we find ourselves in.
“Let all things be done unto edifying.” Finally, everything we do should be working toward the edification, or building up, of someone else. If our pet project or “harmless” indulgence causes more harm than good, we should rethink it (1 Cor.8:9). Paul tells us in Romans 14:19, “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.”
There you have it, a quick checklist from Paul for effectual procedure in the Christian life. It may sound simple, but what were you looking for…complicated? The Christian life may not be easy, but it needn’t be complex. Just take God at His Word. That was how you started out on this wonderful adventure of faith, wasn’t it?