Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.1 Corinthians 16:13
These words are some of Paul’s final commands to the church at Corinth. It seems that he is summing up much of his letter to the church at Corinth. His goal is to encourage the Corinthian Christians to remain faithful to Jesus. These 4 phrases are just as powerful for us today as they were 2,000 years ago. In them, Paul answers the question-How can we remain faithful to Jesus in a world that consistently calls us away from him?
- Be on your guard at all times (be watchful)–For the most part, jellyfish travel throughout the ocean at the mercy of the ocean currents. Many of us live our lives like a jellyfish traveling throughout life at the mercy of the world and our circumstances. Paul tells us that we can’t afford to do this if we are going to remain faithful to Jesus. We always need to be on our guard against the enemy of our souls, sin, apathy, unforgiveness, our emotions, our flesh and worldly ways of thinking.
- Root yourselves in the gospel (stand firm in the faith)–We live in a world of entitlement–we are entitled to happiness, health, wealth, fulfilling relationships and a trouble-free life. The gospel of Jesus Christ that is revealed in Scripture actually tells us otherwise. The gospel tells us that the only thing we are entitled to is God’s furious wrath against sin. Yet, God in His mercy, poured out that wrath against His Son so we could be in a right relationship with Him. When we get this, really get this, we understand grace and as a result everything and everyone else is put into perspective.
- Don’t let fear get the best of you (act like men)–Courage isn’t a lack of fear; courage is facing your fear head-on and not letting it control how you act. God will be faithful through the most heinous of life circumstances. He will be faithful even in death! We have no reason to fear.
- Embrace that victory is the only option (be strong)–There are no losers in God’s Kingdom. Regardless of what happens in your life, both good and bad, you will prevail in this life and the next. This is not because of anything you have done (or not done). It is only because of Jesus! Eliminate self-pity and self-hatred and embrace the victory that is yours through faith in Jesus Christ.