Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.1 Corinthians 16:13(NASB)
In these closing words of Paul's letter to the Corinthians, he once again exhorts his brothers and sisters in Christ to encourage and honour one another. He cites Timothy as a devoted young brother, who seems to a rather reserved young man.. and even timid. And so Paul's advice is to welcome Timothy with gentleness of spirit and not to do anything to make him feel embarrassed or uncomfortable - for Timothy laboured hard for the Lord and as a brother in Christ should be received with respect by other members of Christ's body.
Paul also mentioned another staunch brother in the Lord - Apollos, whom Paul wanted to link up with the Corinthian church, and the underlying reason seemed to be that as the Body of Christ, we are to pull together - to honour one another - to fellowship with one another and to make sure that we are one in heart and mind with our brethren.. as we look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith.
And we find that Paul's closing words to the Corinthians, are designed to encourage Christians to watch, to be on the alert, to stand firm in the faith.. to act like men and to be strong. Paul is urging the believers at Corinth to be of one mind and to make sure that all that they say and all they do is done in love.
Every Christian should know the importance of watching and being alert, for we have many enemies that seek our downfall. We are surrounded with many false apostles, false prophets, false teachers, deceitful workers and doctrines of demons. All such things, started to infiltrate the church in the time of Paul and seem and have exploded into multiple fragments of falsity, within today's apostate churches and heretical cults.
The enemy of our soul seeks to permeate every nook and cranny of Christian life. Indeed we know that the devil himself prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. And that same, the evil enemy, who is called the devil and Satan, will also try to approach us as an angel of light - through the medium of deceptive people, false apostles and deceitful workers, who pretend that they are apostles of Christ - but their witness and faith is compromised. How important therefore that we are alert, and watchful against the enemy of our soul - not only for ourselves but on behalf of all our brothers and sisters in Christ - so that together we keep looking to Jesus - our blessed Hope.
Like the Corinthians, we are also called to be brave and strong in our Christian walk. We are not to compromise our faith but to cling fast to that which is good and noble, right and pure - honourable, admirable and lovely. And we do this as we trust in the Lord with all our heart - for He is the Rock our Salvation and the Foundation upon which we stand. We are to be devoted to our brothers and sisters in Christ - for we are one Body in Him. Indeed we are members of His Body and united together in Him- not only in this life but in the ages to come.
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness to us and for instructing us on how to live godly lives to Your praise and glory. May I stand firm in the faith and act in a way that does not dishonour Your name. May I be alert to the evils that surround me and my brothers and sisters in Christ and may I never compromise the truth of the glorious gospel of grace but be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.. Help me to withstand the wiles of the devil and be alert to his evil ways. And may all I say and do be done in love - to Your honour and glory in Jesus name I pray, AMEN
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