We always want our final words to have an impact. As we drive away or board a plane, we want to say as much as possible to those we love. Paul squeezes in some vital instruction at the end of his first letter to the Corinthians. He wants to give them tools for tough times ahead. We can benefit from these tools when we are struggling.
Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love. Now I urge you, brothers—you know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the service of the saints— be subject to such as these, and to every fellow worker and laborer. Greet one another with a holy kiss. I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed. Our Lord, come! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.
The first tool for tough times is “Be Watchful.” Interesting that Paul starts off with this. He knows that being on the alert is something that all Christians should be doing but especially those that struggle with their old lifestyle. Temptation looms around every corner. We can’t be asleep at the post. The enemy prowls around looking for those he can devour. Be aware of what is going on.
The second tool for tough times is to “Stand Firm.” The storms of life are coming. Will you endure through them? The temptation is to run for cover when difficult times come. We want to escape any conflict or confrontation. Paul tells us to stand firm. Let Christ be your anchor when tough times come. He wants to be our refuge. Stand firm and watch him work.
The third tool for tough times is “Be Strong.” When Paul tells us to be strong, he is saying be strong in the Lord. Our strength comes from the Lord. Strength is often the attitude inside us that won’t quit. We don’t have to be a rock because Jesus is that solid foundation we can build our lives on. Look to him when you feel weak.
Operate in Love
The final tool for tough times is to “Operate in Love.” Everything we do should be motivated by love. This starts with our love for God. We should be growing in our love and intimacy for Jesus Christ every day. That, in turn, will supply the necessary love for others. If we get the order wrong, we will end up frustrated. There is nothing you can invest in more important than your relationship with Jesus Christ. He is the rock that anchors us. It is His grace that sustains us. It is His Spirit that empowers us. Let your life be marked with love.
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