Words That Challenge And Change
Many times it is very simple words that challenge the best that is within us and helps us to change our life; especially when those words come from God. Words can be powerful; this is certainly true concerning God’s word. God said, “Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?” (Jeremiah 23:29) Most of us grew up hearing and saying such things as “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” But then we learn that words do hurt. The truth is words have incredible power to build us up or tear us down. Words carry immeasurable significance. Near the close of the first epistle to the Corinthians, Paul wrote some simple words that can change our life forever. These words are just as important to 21st century Christians as they were to 1st century Christians who first read them. Paul wrote, “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. Let all your things be done with charity.” (1 Corinthians 16:13-14) Use your words to speak life instead of death and allow God’s words to change you forever!
The word “Watch” is a word that will challenge and change us. The word “watch” is God’s spiritual encouragement for us to be keep awake, to be vigilant and to be attentive about spiritual things. Constant watchfulness is the price of safety both physically and spiritually. In 1 Peter 5:8 we read, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” You have many spiritual enemies; be continually on guard spiritually, especially guard against false prophets. There are many false teachers gone out into the world. “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1) We must be ever watchful against any and all evil that might cross our path. Our culture does not want to admit that evil exists, especially in people. Somehow society wants us to ignore the fact that God hates evil. We should watch for good to come to our life. (James 1:7) There are also many opportunities to do good that everyone should see. Our goodness is not a response to the world, but a response to the grace of God that we have received. Watch for opportunities to serve and love others. Watch for opportunities to fortify yourself and your brethren against temptation.
The expression “stand fast in the faith” is an expression that will challenge and change us. God’s people “must stand fast in the faith.” As we stand fast for the Lord we are prepared both to live and to dies. The faith is that system of faith that once and for all has been delivered to the saints. “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” (Jude 1:3) Christians must hold on to their personal faith in a conscientious way and they must hold on to the system of faith with that same tenacity. To stand fast in the faith is to be settled in matters pertaining to God's revealed plan and not to be moved away from it by anything or anybody. “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promised.” (Hebrews 10:23) Let us stand fast in the faith that Jesus Christ is the all-sufficient Savior and that the Scriptures are the only and all-sufficient rule of faith.
The expression “quit you like men” is an expression that will challenge and change us. God’s desire is that we stand up and be a godly and righteous person. We are not to be like children tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine. “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” (Ephesians 4:14) With our understanding we must receive the truth. With our judgment we must determine to obey the truth and to never turn from it. Let us grow to that point of spiritual maturity where we would give up life rather than give up our faith. “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Hebrews 5:12-14) Let us be men: Men of faith, Men of conviction, Men of courage, Men of hope and Men of service to Christ and His cause.
The expression “be strong” is an expression that will challenge and change us. Our cause is good. We are standing with God. Summon up all your courage and stand strong. Fear not! “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7) Fear not because even if you die for Jesus victory is yours. “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” (1 John 5:4) Great spiritual strength is possible to all true Christians. “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 2:1) Be strong in convictions and in love for God and man.
The expression “Let all your things be done with charity or love” is an expression that will challenge and change us. Let love for God and love for others be the motivation for all your actions. Love is a great motivation for proper living. “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3) Every work performed, every word spoken and every action taken must be motivated by love. “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, 306 Walnut Street, Greenville, Alabama 360377