Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Quick Thoughts on I Corinthians 16:13

“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” I Corinthians 16:13

This verse has been popping up in my little brain for the past 3 weeks like clockwork (and no that clockwork is not orange). It’s simple enough, right? I mean, Paul gives 5 statements, how hard can that be to understand? Let’s take ‘em in stride.

“Be watchful…” It’s Paul, so let’s assume he's speaking of being watchful for the return of Jesus as well as being vigilant against wolves seeking to lead people away from Jesus. Yet at the same time seeing your own heart for what it is and knowing the necessary antidote is nothing more or less than Jesus. You must be watchful in all things (and by all I really mean all).

“… Stand firm in the faith…” Not wavering with every turn of your heart or gust in the relevant theological trends. Believing so boldly and so soundly in your mind and heart so as to understand Martin Luther’s words of, “sin boldly.” Seeking above all things the truth of Scripture and wisdom of the Lord.

“… Act like men…” Yes. Not a boy who is being rebuked and thus cowers with his head hung low not looking into the eyes of the rebuke. Not a boy who would rather have momentary gratification than protect and lead a family. Not the pansy who thinks working out more and having more sex and drinking more than anyone else makes him more "manly." Act like men. (Eph. 5:25-33; I Tim. 6:11-21; Titus; I Peter 3:7)

“… Be Strong.” Be strong for the weaker vessel. Be able to protect the one in need of protecting. Be strong in the faith for your family and friends. Be strong in the Lord because he has made you that way for his own glory. Not weak of mind, but strong; not weak of spirit, but strong; not weak of heart, but strong.

“Let all that you do be done in love.” Again, I’m fairly sure that, “all,” here means – ALL. Paying the bills, doing the laundry, speaking with that annoying person, let all that you do be done in love. I would dare to say there is nothing more powerful or dangerous than love. It is thus understandable for God to command us to, “Love the Lord with all your heart with all your soul and with all your mind. (Matt. 22:37)

Simple enough, right? Only by the grace of God purchased at the cross of Christ will our sinful hearts be able to do any of these. Only by Jesus are we made free. Free from cowardice, weakness, apathy, faithlessness, and blindness. So, you see, we don't just need to act better, we need to be born again.

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.

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