Sunday 30 April, 2017

1 Corinthians 16:13-24

13 Be on your guard. Remain strong in the faith. Be brave. 14 Be loving in everything you do. 15 You know that the first believers in Achaia were from the family of Stephanas. They have spent all their time serving the Lord’s people. Brothers and sisters, I am asking you 16 to follow the lead of people like them. Follow everyone who joins in the task and works hard at it. 17 I was glad when Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus arrived. They have supplied me with what you couldn’t give me. 18 They renewed my spirit, and yours also. People like them are worthy of honor. 19 The churches in Asia Minor send you greetings. Aquila and Priscilla greet you warmly because of the Lord’s love. So does the church that meets in their house. 20 All the brothers and sisters here send you greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss. 21 I, Paul, am writing this greeting with my own hand. 22 If anyone does not love the Lord, let a curse be on that person! Come, Lord! 23 May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. 24 I give my love to all of you who belong to Christ Jesus. Amen.

As Paul is wrapping up his first letter to the Corinthians, he gives them some exhortations. “Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.” We hear these sorts of encouragements so often that they can almost lose their meaning, but they are essential to the Christian life.

1 – What opposition faces me, and am I on guard against it? Typically for me this is the voice of discouragement and fear, and so I must daily speak in faith against it.

2 – Am I standing firmly in the faith? Here I think of the foundations that let me stand firm. Am I in God’s word and prayer daily? Am I at church weekly? Am I surrounded by solid Christian people?

3 – Do I see scary situations and step into them full of courage? It’s strange that what can seem simple to one person can be terrifying to another, and vice versa. In this season, to me, courage means saying what is on my heart and not fearing what others will think.

4 – Am I strong? Do I hold up or buckle under pressure? We don’t give much thought to our strength until it is tested, but the encouragement here is simply to “be strong”. Exercise regularly and remain strong.

5 – And perhaps most difficult of all, can I honestly say I do everything with love? I can think of many areas that I do lovingly, and many others that I do begrudgingly, angrily, with frustration and complaint.

God, thank You that You lead me and You know me. Help me to live my life the way Paul encourages me to in these verses.

Written by Matt Samperi

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