Week 34, Day 2
August 23, 2022
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 16
1 Corinthians 16:13 “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.”
The concluding encouragement from Paul to the Corinthians church is to “be on guard, stand firm in the faith, be courageous; be strong.”
How many different ways can you say, “Be strong?” He’s certainly making a point of emphasis here, and it reminds me of the concluding messages of Moses and Joshua in the life of Israel. As Moses looks to the people in his final sermon of Deuteronomy he encourages the people to remain firm in their faith and to continue to walk with the Lord. Joshua, he too, is called to be strong and courageous in his faith.
What does it mean for us to stand firm, and be courageous in our faith?
There’s a word that wasn’t used, but I think it fits appropriately and helps us give legs to this idea of standing firm. It’s a call to determination. We’ve all met the determined 3-year-old. The one who is fiercely independent of their parents, looking to accomplish the amazing feet of getting their own shoes on. Or more seriously, the determined individual to accomplish their goals like achieving mastery in a skill, or amazing feet of strength. It takes steady determination to accomplish these sorts of goals.
Steady or consistent faith, one that is not tossed back and forth by every teaching is what Paul is calling the Corinthian church to live out. They’ve shown quite a few lapses in faith and judgment just in this letter. But Paul holds out hope that they will find solid ground to stand firm on. That solid ground is fleshed out throughout the book. He points them towards unity, love, faith and hope, rooted in the powerful resurrection of Jesus. All of this Good News should reignite their faith and embolden their stance in the world. Jesus loves the Corinthian church, despite their failures. He is with them and unites them. They are one body, living out their faith.
Like Israel, the people will fail, everyone will falter. But Paul reminds the church that they have the Lord Jesus with them. Nothing will separate them from the love of God in Jesus Christ.
Be courageous, for God is with you.
You may feel like you’ve faltered too much in your faith. Consider with me this truth, Paul still holds out the grace, mercy and love of Jesus to a people filled with sexual immorality, disunity, drunkenness and more. That hope, grace and mercy is held out to all of us…still!
Stand firm, stand upon Jesus.
Jordan Ickes, Minister of Etna Green Church of Christ.