1 Corinthians 16:13-14
Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love.
In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he writes the above scripture. When we look at what he meant by this, we see that there is much more to these two short scriptures than appears.
In Matthew chapter 24, Jesus is talking to His disciples about the things that will happen before the end of the world, and in verse 42 He says, “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.” In Luke 21:36, He goes further and says, “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” And in Matthew 26:41, after finding the disciples sleeping while He prayed, He said, “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
1 Thessalonians 5:6 tells us, “Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.” We should be on constant guard for anything that would cause us to fall or lead us astray because we know that Christ’s return is closer than ever before. Be wary and watchful so that you don’t fall into temptations that could otherwise be avoided. By being vigilant, we can avoid many trials and tribulations. Be aware of false preachers and teachers, as Paul told us in Acts 20:29-30, “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” There are many people today who do not rightly divide the Word of Truth, and many who follow them to their own demise. We need to study God’s Word (2 Tim. 2:15) so that we will know when someone is not preaching the truth and can keep ourselves from being led into false doctrines.
Prayer is an integral part of our walk with God, and we are told many times to not only watch but to pray. 1 Peter 4:7 says, “But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.” Colossians 4:2 tells us to, “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving”. We need to maintain a constant prayer life, staying in close communication with our Heavenly Father, so that our hearts and minds are in tune with His will, and that our actions will bring Him all the glory He is due.
Be alert, be sober, and be strong in the knowledge of God’s Word, so that any attempt to draw us away from Him will fail. We need to pay attention to all aspects of our walk with God so that the devil will not find any area of neglect where he can sneak in and try to destroy our faith.
Most of us are familiar with Galatians 5:1, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” And we are encouraged in Philippians 1:27, “…that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel”, and again in Phil. 4:1, “…so stand fast in the Lord…”. In 1 Thes. 3:8, we are told, “For now we live if ye stand fast in the Lord.” As Paul exhorts fellow believers to not be troubled or shaken in their minds, he reminds them that before Christ’s return, there will be a falling away from the faith, because people will be deceived. Many in the last days will be given a strong delusion, because “they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” (2 Thes. 2:10) He then reminds them again, in 2 Thes. 2:15, “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.”
Maintain your position as a child of God. Put on the whole armor, as we are told in Ephesians 6:10-18, so that any attempt to divide believers will be seen and stopped quickly and effectively. Know your position in the family of God, and don’t cause or allow division, but rather use the gifts you have been given to bring unity to the house of God and encourage your brothers and sisters in Christ.
I have always been fascinated by the phrase, and the basic definition is to be brave, but it goes deeper, saying to stand bravely without flinching when facing your enemy. Maintain your ground at all costs; resist and press forward. We are to grow and mature in Christ, so that we are not tossed about by every wind of doctrine and deceit of men (Eph. 4:14), and we are told in 1 Cor. 14:20, “Brethren, be not children in understanding; howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.”
When we are mature in Christ and prepared with the full armor of God, we are able to withstand the evil that comes against us to destroy our lives. We can be brave, knowing we have the power of Heaven behind us.
We should all know by now that we are not strong enough on our own to battle the evil that would destroy us, but we are reminded in Phil. 4:13 (NKJV) that, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” There are many scriptures that encourage us with the truth that God is our strength. Isaiah 40:31 tells us that we will be strengthened when we wait upon God, rather than becoming impatient and going forward without Him. And in Isa. 41:10, we read, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” A quick search for Bible verses on strength will yield a great number of scriptures declaring that we are to find our power and strength in God. “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.” (Eph.6:10) So let us put on the whole armor of God, that we “may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Eph. 6:11).
We are in a spiritual battle for our souls, and we need every advantage that our LORD and Savior provide. Having the truth of God’s Word in our hearts and minds, protected by the righteousness of our Savior, we can stand in faith knowing that we are more than conquerors through Him that loves us (Rom. 8:37).
After all the preparation for spiritual battle, and striving to keep unity among the saints, praying and studying the Word of God, the last point is the one that brings it all together. Do all things in love. One of my favorite chapters of the Bible is 1 Corinthians 13, what I like to refer to as “The Book of Love”. Man’s definitions of love can vary widely, but God is clear on the true meaning of the word ‘love’. The Greek word ‘Agape’ is defined as “selfless love of one person for another without sexual implications (especially love that is spiritual in nature)”. It is the kind of love that God is, and has for us, and is more eternal than any other gift we can give or receive. The 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians, starting with verse 4, tells us that, “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”
Let us keep watch, and pray, and study our Bibles so that we know what God’s truth is. Let us stand fast to the promises of God, and the salvation we have through Jesus Christ. We can be brave, knowing that we have the strength of our Heavenly Father with us in every situation. But above all, let us love one another with Godly love, knowing that the greatest commandments, as Jesus said, are “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
Grace and blessings on your path,