By Chris Ward, Campus Director, LHM Houston
“You’re such a Corinthian!”
“How dare you call me that!”
If you lived in A.D. 56, you might have heard this conversation between two people. The city of Corinth had a reputation as a polluted city and I don’t mean it had excess garbage or trash. I mean that every kind of evil was present in Corinth and the worst part was that the Church was polluted as well. Paul confronted the Corinthians in ways that we certainly need to hear in our own lives, particularly given our contemporary culture.
In 1 Corinthians 16:13-14, Paul speaks into the lives of the Corinthians and directly into our lives as he says,
Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love. (1 Cor. 16:13-14 ESV)
BE WATCHFUL – As a child I remember playing “I Spy,” but as adults we are called to “Spy” what God is doing. God is at work in our world and He desperately desires for us to join with Him in that labor. Make no mistake about it, He actively works around you. Look for it, find it, and join Him.
Additionally, we must be watchful for the evil that lurks around us. We read about this in 1 Peter 5:8- Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. We are hunted. The devil would like nothing better than to take us down and ruin our witness. Always be aware that the devil never quits trying, so we must always be watchful and ready.
STAND FIRM IN THE FAITH – No matter how long we have been walking with God, there are always truths that we can stand on as trouble and difficult circumstances find us:
God is good.
God loves me.
I am forgiven through Christ.
God is a God of second chances.
God will carry our burdens.
Stand on these and so many more of God’s promises throughout scripture. The world we live in shouts the opposite in our ears, but we must stand firm on the truths of God.
BE STRONG – When Paul uses the Greek word for strength or determination (κραταιοῦσθε), he refers to our maturing faith, one that grows and learns through listening and obeying. We should all be able to easily speak to what we have recently learned and recognize where God is still growing and stretching our faith. Unfortunately, at times when we are asked to share this information, we sit in silence, finding it hard to recognize what He is doing. This should not be!
LET ALL THAT YOU DO BE DONE IN LOVE – Earlier in 1 Corinthians Paul writes,
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”
We might like to hear the sound of a gong one time, but definitely not over and over and over again. The same is true of a cymbal. When used properly and connection with a whole drum kit, it fits; however, if someone only played the cymbal over and over and over and over and over, it would be torture
Paul goes on to write,
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful…”
In this spiritually polluted and dark world, this type of love shines out with incredible brightness for all to see.
As we watch the news and see our culture shifting away from God’s truth, it is crucial more than ever that we follow Paul’s admonition:
-Stand firm in the faith
-Be Strong (maturing)
-And live a life of Love