Verses 13 and 14 really stood out for me when I was reading this passage:
“Be on your guard.
Stand firm in the faith.
Be men of courage.
Do everything in love”.
Paul was giving these instructions to the church in Corinth. He also gave similar instructions to the churches in Galatia (Gal 5:1), Philippi (Php 1:27), Thessalonica (1 Thess 3:8 and 2 Thess 2:15) and Ephesus (Eph 6:10). As we wait for the return of Jesus this is a wise way for us to be living our lives too.
Being on our guard is warning us of the evils in our world and how we may be tempted to stray, but it can also mean that we should be on the lookout for opportunities to receive and do good, and to watch out for each other in love.
We can stand firm by keeping close to other Christians. If we continue to trust in the Lord, rest upon God in our faith and remain in that personal relationship with him then we cannot go far wrong.
We may need to be courageous when we must stand up for our faith even if it is unpopular. Lean on the strength that God will give us in hard times and remember that He is always by our side.
There are so many ways that we can be strong in our lives. We need to be strong in our repentance and our belief – every temptation to tell a lie, every desire to be lazy, careless, selfish, sulky or vain is a challenge from the enemy on our soul. The Holy Spirit will give us the strength to drive away every bad thought or action. The more we use the strength that God has given us the stronger we will become to do his will.
As Rev Professor H Shuttleworth puts it: “ ’Be strong’ against the temptations of the coming day. ‘Be strong’ faithfully to do its duties, bravely to bear its trials, humbly to accept its joys”.
The whole Bible is about loving those around us – charity should shine out in our lives.
Prayer by St Teresa of Avila (1515-1582)Christ has no body now on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours; yours are the eyes through which to look at Christ’s compassion to the world, yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good, and yours are the hands with which he is to bless us now. Amen.