Share Christ’s love with gentleness

A Simple Message

“For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power. What do you want? Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of gentleness?”

1 Corinthians 4:21

Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians presents a very candid look at the daily life of a believer.

This book prioritizes God’s instruction for the most applicable of daily Christian concerns. The topics addressed include life in a sexually immoral society, the morality of lawsuits, and marriage and divorce.

Amid these hot-topic issues, there is a particularly essential instruction that is often overlooked: The importance of Christ-like love.

I believe this message, illustrated in the above passage, is so often overlooked in I Corinthians because it is in no way unique to that book.

Each of the four Gospels, the entirety of John’s contributions to Scripture, and the vast majority of the New Testament emphasize the fact that Christianity and love are synonymous.

Due to this heavy saturation of the message, it is easy for us to overlook its importance in I Corinthians. Paul assures the Corinthians that we cannot experience the kingdom of God by simply studying, memorizing, or reciting words – even the words of God Himself.

The power of God is essential to truly experience God in our own lives. Paul then equates the power of God to love and gentleness by use of a cleverly worded question. Paul approached and continued to minister to the Corinthians in a loving and gentle way.

Only through this gentle love did they come to understand the grace of God, and experience this life-changing power firsthand.

Paul, therefore, asks them if they would prefer he come to them filled with hate, judgment, and animosity. Of course, the answer would be “no.” They were aware of their failings and did not need further brow-beating. What the Corinthians needed to correct their spiritual failings is the very thing that gave them spiritual life: gentle, Christ-like love.

Here we find an important reminder for ourselves as modern-day believers. In a world so filled with despair, and bankrupt in hope, there is little need for further criticism. Most people are painfully aware of their failings, and the failings of the society around them.

What they are not aware of is the life-altering love of Christ. The world will remain ignorant of this love unless we believers share Christ’s love with gentleness.

Jason Shockley is an evangelist and teacher. Facebook @simplemessagelife. Email: