Encouragement For Daily Living
While Paul was at Ephesus reports reached him concerning the moral and spiritual state of the church in Corinth. Satan was using many tools to hinder the power and the progress of the work of the gospel there. There was division, immorality and even a perversion of the Lord's Supper. At the close of First Corinthians Paul gave some forceful words of encouragement for daily living among the Christians at Corinth. After teaching them what they needed to do he wrote, "Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love." (1 Corinthians 16:13-14) These are spiritual character traits that are necessary for Godly living. They are just as important to our spiritual well being today as they were to the Corinthian brethren.
Christians must "Watch." "Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love." (1 Corinthians 16:13-14) Christians must "Watch" or be awake and attentive for the attacks of the Devil. God calls for alertness in our spiritual journey. Consistent watchfulness is the price we pay for our spiritual defense. Peter wrote, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour." (1 Peter 5:8) The world pulls at us constantly and there are many false teachers. We must constantly watch and be on guard that nothing contrary to the nature of God or to His commandments be allowed into our life. It is so easy for lukewarmness, fleshly desires or other spiritual maladies to destroy us. Paul wrote, "I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh." (Galatians 5:16) If a Christian is to stay strong and faithful he must be on his guard constantly.
Christians must "Stand fast in the faith." "Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love." (1 Corinthians 16:13-14) Christians must get some roots and stand firmly for the faith. "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving." (Colossians 2:6-7) God's people must be prepared to die for the faith if necessary. They must never give in or give up. Paul's prayer for the Ephesians was "That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. (Ephesians 3:16-19) Christians must be "rooted and grounded" or they must "stand fast in the faith." To stand fast in the faith is to be so settled in matters pertaining to God's revealed plan and not to be moved away from it by anything. Let us stand fast in the faith that (1) Jesus is the only Savior, (2) the Bible is the only rule of faith, and (3) the church in the Bible is the only body of Christ. We must stand for the faith of the gospel.
Christians must "Be brave." "Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love." (1 Corinthians 16:13-14) To be brave means to be men for God. It is time that God's people act like spiritual men. This refers to the practice of godliness and righteousness in our lives. The Bible makes a distinction between some who are spiritual babies and other who are men. "And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ." (1 Corinthians 3:1) We must not be spiritual slackers. God must be able to count on us at all times to bear our part in the glorious work of the church. We must fulfill our duty and obligation to God. It is time to stand up and make a difference in our world. Let us be men: (1) Men of faith, (2) men of conviction, (3) men of courage, (4) men of hope, and (5) men of service to Christ and His cause. We must show ourselves men in Christ. God needs strong and spiritual people to defend the faith and to maintain Christian integrity.
Christians must "Be strong." "Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love." (1 Corinthians 16:13-14) Let us catch the vision of what we can be for God. We can "be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might." “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, …” (Ephesians 6:10-18) The spiritual battles that we are fighting cannot be won on our own. We must be strong by clinging to the Word of God and giving Him our loving service. We must be strong so we can do what God wants us to do and be what God wants to be. We must (1) be strong in convictions, (2) be strong in love, and (3) be strong in will to face temptation. If you want to be strong you have to decide to be strong and you have to rely on God for help with strength!
Christians must let all things be done in Love. "Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love." (1 Corinthians 16:13-14) Love is the important and great motivating force. "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) Love must control our every action. Our zeal, our words and our actions must be consistent with love. When everything is done in love toward one another and toward all men it will be done with a spirit of meekness and good will.
Paul's admonition for Corinth and for us is, "Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love." (1 Corinthians 16:13-14) The love and sacrifice of Jesus is still deeper than any thought that I could imagine. Yet, we must choose to lovingly obey God. "Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever." (1 Peter 1:22-23) To obey the truth you must believe in Jesus with all your heart (John 8:24), Repent of your sins (Luke 13:3), Confess the name of Jesus (Acts 8:37), and be baptized to wash away your sins. (Acts 22:16) After baptism always serve God faithfully. (Matthew 10:22)
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, P.O. Box 551, Greenville, Alabama 36037 USA