Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love. 1 Corinthians 16:13-14
In 1 Corinthians 16, Paul was sharing with the Corinthians some personal requests and instructions. In the middle of this chapter we see this exhortation from Paul, urging them to be careful about staying strong in their faith walk. Paul did not want them to fall into sin or be discouraged, but to be courageous and to reach out to those around them in brotherly love.
What a nugget of truth that encourages our hearts to keep on going no matter what is taking place around us! Paul reiterates this exhortation while speaking to the Philippians as he says:
Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. (1:27)
How can we do this if we or someone we care about are facing difficult circumstances?
- Putting on the armor of God each morning (Eph. 6:10-18)
- Rejoicing in the Lord (Phil. 4:4)
- Clothing ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience (Col. 3:12)
- Forgiving others as Christ forgave us (Col. 3:13)
- Devoting ourselves to prayer & being thankful (Col. 4:2)
Read this illustration from the life of William Wilberforce and be encouraged to stand firm in your faith:
Young William Wilberforce was discouraged one night in the early 1790s after another defeat in his 10 year battle against the slave trade in England. Tired and frustrated, he opened his Bible and began to leaf through it. A small piece of paper fell out and fluttered to the floor. It was a letter written by John Wesley shortly before his death. Wilberforce read it again: "Unless the divine power has raised you up... I see not how you can go through your glorious enterprise in opposing that (abominable practice of slavery), which is the scandal of religion, of England, and of human nature. Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of men and devils. But if God be for you, who can be against you? Are all of them together stronger than God? Oh, be not weary of well-doing. Go on in the name of God, and in the power of His might." (Daily Bread, June 16, 1989.)