Last week I was reading through the book of 1 Corinthians. The apostle Paul wrote this book to the Christians living in Corinth. The last chapter of the book is essentially Paul telling the Corinthians when he’ll be coming for a visit and who all will be there in the meantime. And then, seemingly out of the blue he says:
Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love. (I Corinthians 16:13-14)
It felt rather random in the middle of this chapter and yet, it’s solid advice. It’s like he was saying, “I’m not going to be there for awhile, so in the meantime do this.“ So, I started to think about what that would look like in my own life and wrote these words in my journal. Maybe they’ll speak to you, too.
Be on guard –Satan is always on the prowl, looking for ways to destroy me. He’s slippery and deceitful so I need to be on guard—always! How do I do that?
- Read my Bible regularly.
- Listen to worship music.
- Speak truth to myself. (Post truth around the house if you have to because Satan’s lies are dangerous and frequent.)
- Fellowship with other Christians.
- Stay away from people and situations that might lead me into sin.
Stand firm in the faith—Don’t waver from what I believe. Jesus is Lord. God is good—always—even when it doesn’t feel like what he’s doing is a good thing right now.
Be courageous—Don’t be afraid to share the gospel or to speak out for things that are good and holy. Maybe it’s not hard for you to share the gospel with others, but I really struggle with not wanting to make people uncomfortable, or have them think I’m weird. Why do I care? Isn’t it better for people to think I’m peculiar than for them to go to hell thinking I’m a normal person?
Be strong—The only way I can figure out how to be strong is to lean on the Holy Spirit. God doesn’t intend for me to deal with everything by myself. He knows I’m weak. I am only strong IN HIM! For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)
And do everything with love—Without love I am like a clanging cymbal. One day at Bible Study my friend, Kristin, was teaching on love. She talked about 1 Corinthians 13:1, which says: “If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” She then proceeded to pull out a pair of cymbals and clang them together. And she didn’t do it just a couple of times. She went on and on and on. It was super annoying, which of course was her point. Because that’s what we’re like when we don’t love others—annoying.
Lord, help me to be strong and courageous and to love well. Remind me to lean on you to help me stand firm in my faith and always be on guard. Let your light shine through me so that others might know you. Amen.