Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love (13-14).
Is there a simple way to sum up a letter like 1Corinthians? Can Paul find a few words to drive home the various points of his letter? I think he did just that in the 2 sentences above.
Be on your guard… it is so easy to slip and fall. Be on your guard, writes Paul. And that is an apt word. I have to be mindful and careful. I have to monitor my life, thoughts and actions. When I fall, I need to confess it, receive God’s forgiveness, get up again and move on. I have to keep my eyes open to the influences of the world and God’s enemy. A perfect shorthand reminder is be on your guard.
Stand firm… make your commitment to stand your ground. Don’t give in. Don’t take the easy way out. Push yourself when necessary to live right and do right by the power of God, the Holy Spirit, within you.
Be courageous… this ties in with standing firm. Too often we want the faith to be easy and everyone to like us. But it takes courage to stand with Christ. The world is opposed to Jesus so there will be times that courage is needed to stand with the Lord. We will take our lumps and we need courage not to cave but to stand.
Be strong… Many of the early Christians suffered for their faith and suffering takes strength. Strength is needed to be courageous and to stand with Jesus. So Paul continues to build his word picture.
Do everything in love… Having painted the picture of what we are to do, Paul now tells us how to do it… through LOVE. Echoes of chapter 13 reverberate in this sentence. While love is the critical word in the sentence, ‘everything’ comes in a close second. It is not do ‘somethings’ in love; it is do everything in love. Love is to be our calling card, our first and last impression as believers.
All the problems addressed can somehow find their answer in these 2 sentences. Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.
I hear God say, ‘This is for you, Bill’… can I do it? Will I do it?
I pray so, Lord. I will need Your help to guard, to stand, to be courageous and to be strong. Incline Your ear to me, Lord, that I may honor You in what I do and how I do it. I pray Through Jesus, my Savior and Lord. Amen.