Let Love be the Guiding Principle - The Warrior's Journey®

Let Love be the Guiding Principle

Author: Chaplain, COL Scott McChrystal, USA (Ret.)

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“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” (1 Corinthians 12:1-3) 

The older I get the more I grieve over the impure motives that have driven so much of my “service” to the Lord as an Army chaplain.  Sometimes it was a desire for recognition and applause. And sometimes anger and jealousy drove me. I have to leave such tainted works with God and pray that they hurt as few people as possible. Such works will certainly perish under the scrutiny of Christ. They will profit me nothing. I have to continually ask God to search my troubled heart and to make me more like Jesus. I always have to ask God to fill me with His love and to love others through me. 

In all the Corinthians’ excitement to be endowed with the greatest spiritual gifts and to take center stage in the ministry, Paul shows them a far better path to follow. In fact, it is an infallible measure by which to test our own motives. 

    • Am I often impatient and irritated with others?
    • Do I have contempt for people with fewer gifts than I, or dread those who have more? 
    • Do I feel threatened or jealous when others receive praise?
    • Am I haughty or arrogant toward humble people?
    • Do I find pleasure in other peoples’ failure and embarrassment?
    • Do I hate to share credit with others?  Am I a poor team player?
    • Do I plan my activities so that I am always seen and noticed by important people?
    • Am I only seeking my own promotion and notoriety? 

If the answer to most of these questions is “yes,” then love is certainly missing from my heart. My sermons and my songs are more like a noisy, irritating gong. Despite my amazing insight, faith and knowledge I am still nothing. Regardless of my many sacrifices, I have gained nothing for myself that will endure for eternity. 

If you were to ask the Corinthians what is the weightiest and most profound instruction of 1 Corinthians 12-14, they might answer it’s a tossup between chapter 12 and 14. But if you asked Paul, he’d say it’s chapter 13 for sure. Chapters 12 and 14 are merely the two slices of bread in a sandwich. The meat is in chapter 13.  


  • Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-6. Is there a close resemblance between you and love? 
  • Of all the gifts and endowments of God that Paul mentions, which of them never fails but endures for all eternity? 
  • Let’s examine ourselves and pray for God’s insight, forgiveness, and love.

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