Paul concludes his first letter to the Corinthians in this chapter. He is wrapping up his teaching to them on practices for worship and an understanding of the truth. He is winding down and bidding them farewell. He lets them know what to expect from him and other believers. There is an open line of communication and he is being totally transparent.
Are we transparent in our faith? Do we tell it like it is, that Jesus was crucified, dying for our sins, and then rose from the grave victorious over death so that we, too, could live forever with him. When we say those words, do you imagine what our God did for us? Does it rock you to your core? Think on that for a moment. We’ve heard it before, but let the truth resonate with you. Jesus died for YOU! Powerful.
Amidst the farewell and wrap up there is as gem of a passage (vv 13 and 14) nestled here in today’s reading. It grabbed me. “Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.” I love it! Simple. Direct. Brilliant! That’s a good passage to memorize, don’t you think?
Be on guard for the evil one. He is crafty and is waiting to pounce, waiting for us to be weak and distracted. Stand firm in the faith because it’s too easy to be wishy washy when we let the voices of the world into our heads. Be courageous goes beyond not being afraid, it is taking a bold stand when it isn’t comfortable. Be strong when forces push and pull at us. Remember 1 Corinthians 12:9, “’My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” We can be strong when we call on God. Do you do everything with love? Love God and Love Each other, so before you act, think – am I being loving?
What if we started every day reciting those verses, and perhaps recited them with our meal prayers, our evening prayers, and anytime during the day we were feeling weary? What if? I’m going to try it, and I encourage you to do the same.
Let’s pray. Father God, you have come to me again in my weakness. Help me lean on you and rely on your grace and mercy. Help me to internalize this great message today and be on guard, be faithful, be courageous and bold, and do everything in love. Show me those that are ready to hear from you, and give me the message they need. In Jesus’ name. Amen.