Be on guard.
Stand firm in the faith.
…And do everything with love.
Sounds like a list of things a parent might tell a teen before leaving for a weekend. “Take out the trash. Wash your dishes. Don’t open the door to strangers.”
Here Paul was writing to the believers in Corinth from the city of Ephesus. He had laid some tough love on these folks throughout the letter, and now, as he is ending his writing, explains why he is not coming through town but that he will try to come as soon as he can for an extended stay.
THEN he tells the believers to be on guard. For what, the Jews and Romans who wanted to destroy them? Maybe, but more so the enemy of our souls who would lead them astray as he did Israel in the desert.
Stand firm in the faith, he says. Don’t become wishy-washy. Prop one another up, remind one another of the truth and help each other live it.
Be courageous. In the Greek, this says “be men,” and in the Amplified, it’s translated as “be mature men.” I don’t think it means be like wise, elderly men. I think it means be constant and diligent in knowing God and learning His truths and willing to stand up to anything – even the unseen enemy – to defend their faith.
Be strong. Paul knew what it was to feel weak, yet be strong. He knew what it was to be robust and to be infirm. We can feel weak physically, yet be as strong as ever spiritually. While it’s important to keep our bodies strong, it’s more important to keep our spirits strong and vital.
This list applies to us today. We must be careful to watch for the enemy’s ways. He so loves to get a toehold in our lives through anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, and then wiggle that into a firm grip, leading us away from God. We must be on guard.
We must stand firm in our faith. We must learn God and become acquainted with Him such that we feel His heartbeat. We must know what we believe and why. Then when we stand in shifting sands, we’ll know Truth and we’ll be able to stay. When others are sinking or sliding away, we can reach out to help them.
We must be courageous and strong. We must be willling to stand for the Truth that is Jesus. We must be ready to declare Him Lord. We must refuse to go this way and that with those who want to draw us away from right, no matter how pleasant or fun that direction seems.
The good news is, believers have the Holy Spirit living in them to help with this list. When we tune into Him and listen closely, we will hear Him guiding us with every step.
Let’s give that a try today. Let’s turn down the noise of life enough that we can hear the Spirit of God’s whisper of life, then follow that in every moment. We can do this! You can do this!
Coffee, Bible, Journal.