Saying goodbye is hard. You have to separate from someone you love, and finding the right words to say can be difficult. You want to say something meaningful without sounding corny. Paul does an excellent job with his departing words. He gets his final instruction across clearly and concisely. We benefit because they are words to live by.
Be alert, stand firm in the faith, be courageous, be strong. Do everything in love.”
A Monumental Task
When Paul ends one of his letters, he packs a lot of instruction into very few words. As he finishes his first letter to the Corinthians, he warns them to be alert, courageous, and strong while standing firm in their faith, all the while doing everything in love. That is a mouthful, but it is also a monumental task. The Corinthians were notorious for being lazy and weak in their faith, and love wasn’t one of their wrong suits. Paul is urging them to get their act together.
Sometimes we need a reminder to get things in order too. It is easy to let things slide. The danger when that happens is that compromise sets in. If we aren’t alert, we can get broadsided by temptation or attacks. If we aren’t strong and courageous, we crumble under pressure. When we get a little selfish, love flies out the window. Living for Christ isn’t something that runs on autopilot. We have to be actively engaged.
How do we stay alert? It takes discernment from the Holy Spirit. That comes from being full of His presence and our hearts being fertile ground so spiritual fruit can grow. Strength and courage come from our confidence in the Lord. Are you leaning fully upon Him and trusting Him with everything? There is a fantastic amount of strength that comes from that. If love isn’t our motivation, then everything else mentioned is a clanging cymbal. Everything we do should result from the love that the Holy Spirit has poured into our hearts.