Stand Firm in the Faith
“Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.” ~ 1 Corinthians 16: 13-14
Paul gives five short, clear commands in the last chapter of this letter to the believers in Corinth. What would happen if we consciously practiced these every day? I wonder how different our communities would be!
Stand firm in the faith.
I must personally own the faith. I cannot cover myself with my pastor’s faith or my friend’s faith or Billy Graham’s faith. It must be my own. Where do I get faith? Enough faith to sustain me right now?
“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17
If I’m not seeking God through His word, then I have no personal faith and cannot stand firm.
“Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” Col. 2:7
Spending time in the word deepens my spiritual roots. Then I experience strong faith and thankfulness as well!
Be on guard.
A guard is always watchful. Gone is the time when we walk casually down the street with our faces in our phones. Look up into the real faces of real people and look into their expression. Forget about the upcoming episode of that TV show. Fix your thoughts on the next encounter you want to have with your unsaved neighbor, the grocery clerk, your co-worker. With plans for vacation set aside for now, make plans with your family of creative ways to serve those in need: a serv-a-cation!
“For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?” Isaiah 43:19
If we’re not on guard – watchful – we won’t see anything! We’ll be left out of the new thing God is doing. Think of how you’ll feel as “Spirit Airlines” takes off without you!
Be courageous. Be strong.
Courage is the internal processing we do which leads to a decision that often requires the action of bravery.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not tremble or be dismayed; for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
We can be courageous because our faith is in the Almighty, the Righteous One, the Holy One, the Way, the Truth, the Life, etc. Courage precedes bravery. When we chose to follow Christ, we counted the cost ahead of time (hopefully) which meant we accepted the suffering that would along with the joy. That internal decision takes courage. My faith, which is sustained through His word, gives me the needed strength each day to act out that courageous decision.
And do everything with love.
“We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing.” 2 Thess. 1:3
Our capacity to love will be equal to the measure of faith we possess. Our love for others is what sets apart from the world. Our love for others validates our profession of faith more than anything else.
“If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing.” 1 Cor. 13:2