Love is an active quality; genuine love causes us to do things: it is a motivation from the heart. The things love causes us to do are not done out of obligation, when we might say, “I suppose I had better …” In 1 Corinthians 8:3 Paul tells us, “But if anyone loves God, he (or she) is known by God”. When God, who sees all things (Psalm 139), knows our professions of love for Him are genuine – we are “known by God”. But there is more to this. To know God results in a two-way relationship, David’s Psalms show this. “Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his” (100:3).

We read in Exodus recently, “Moses said to the LORD … you have said, ‘I know you by name … therefore if I have found favour in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you …’” (chapter 33:12,13). Knowing God comes through living and working for Him and knowing His ways; there comes the wonder of the realization that we are “working together with him” (2 Corinthians 6:1).

One of the wonders of this, Paul told the Corinthians is to realize that “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). Many believers in Corinth experienced temptations to continue to enjoy the fleshly advantages of “fellowship” in the idol temples and feasting on food that had been offered to idols. In human ways of thinking this food was special having been blessed by Temple priests.

It is not difficult to see modern equivalents, especially in prosperous countries in the things that the masses idolize. In Corinth athletic sports were idolized (like today); spectators idolize those who compete. Paul’s pointed comment is, “Every athlete exercises self control … they do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable” (1 Corinthians 9:25). He tells believers, “So run that you may obtain it … I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” (verses 24,27).

The ‘oil’ which ‘lubricates’ our understanding and ways of thinking and resultant efforts to “run” effectively, is our love for God and our awareness that we are known by Him.