Soldiers and Friends
“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” - 1 Corinthians 16:13–14 (ESV)
Paul wrote the words above to those living in Corinth. They are as timely for us as they were for the Corinthians.
Corinth’s reputation for sexual immorality, religious diversity, and corruption was well known. The church Paul planted in Corinth (Acts 18) struggled in its response to these influences.
It seems that not much has changed.
We also are challenged in knowing how to address immorality, stay unified, and remain pure in our world. How can we continue to love, accept, and care for others while staying faithful to God? How can we be in our world without becoming like our world?
Paul’s closing instructions to the Corinthians resemble a military commander’s commands to his troops.
“Watchfulness” is paying attention, observing, and keeping alert. Ask any soldier assigned with sentry duty. They understand how dangerous it can be for themselves – and others – if they fail to remain alert. Watchfulness is crucial when under attack or even the threat of assault.
“Stand firm in the faith.”
Paul’s charge is to encourage us not to yield but hold firm: stand your ground, don’t give even an inch to your opponent. It’s tempting to want to be “liked” by others. I don’t want to offend anyone intentionally. The question is, why?
Am I more concerned about what others might say? Or, do I desire to be obedient in faith? It’s not about popularity but faithfulness. Like the Corinthians, we also are being shot at with “insulting bullets” (you are unkind, intolerant, dogmatic, unreasonable). We can expect that. We are on a battleground, not a playground.
“Act like men.”
In other words, demonstrate courage: A timely reminder there’s no place for timidity.
But here’s the caveat. Paul commands us: “Let all that you do be done in love.”
As followers of Christ, our lives must reveal that: We are Soldiers of Christ AND loving friends who sincerely care.
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