1 Corinthians 16:13-14 “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.”
The Apostle Paul, in this passage, includes several exhortations as he generally does at the end of his letters. He encourages the believers to be men and women of courage, to be on the watch and to stand firm in the faith, as we ought to. It paints a picture of being ready, quite the opposite of someone who is asleep and caught by surprise. Christians are in spiritual warfare. The scripture tells us that we are no longer of this world, and so the world hates us. John 15:19 says “If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”
Our key passage gives us three keys to be men and women of courage. To have courage, you must be ready for anything that comes your way. Firstly, you need to identify the source of your courage. Your confidence must be from God, not a self-confidence, rather it must be a God-confidence. Secondly, if you are not ready, that is when you lack courage. To be prepared, the scripture in 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 gives us three keys.
Firstly, “be watchful.”
Being watchful means to be awake. It is not to slumber or sleep; instead, it is to be ready and, on the lookout, always. Jesus used this metaphor of “being awake” frequently throughout the gospels. Jesus instructed us to be on the watch in Luke 21:34-36 “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
You need to begin by watching yourself. Make sure you are not weighed down by worldliness and cares of this life, rather stay awake at all times. No just merely being awake, instead continuously praying that you may be strengthened, that you may escape the judgment that is coming upon this world and standing before the Son of Man.
Secondly, “stand firm in the faith.”
The scriptures tell us that we need to trust in the Lord and have full confidence in His word. You need to know beyond a shadow of a doubt, who God is, to stand firm in the faith. When you do this, then this means that you are committed one hundred percent to the Kingdom call. We are not those who fall back, but those who move forward, unshaken, unmovable in our faith.
Galatians 5:1 says “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” We are freed from slavery to sin and death, and so we are required to stand firm; not allowing ourselves to fall back again to a yoke of slavery. This is only possible through the powerful work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. This is a battleground, and we need to be men and women of courage, unmovable in our faith, looking to the upward call of Christ.
Thirdly, “act like men – be strong.”
Finally, be strong! Be courageous, knowing that you stand to battle like those in the army of God. We know that our victory is secure, but it has to be won through battle. Our strength as a Christian soldier is drawn from Christ and His mighty power. Ephesians 6:10-11 says “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.”
Therefore, stand firm putting on the full armour of God, be strong, strengthened in the Lord and the strength of His power.
Friends, I urge you to be men and women of God who are full of courage. The source of your courage must be Christ Himself. Next, your courage must come from your readiness and to be ready, you need to be watchful, you need to stand firm in your faith, and finally, you need to be strengthened in the Lord and the powerful might of Jesus Christ.
Amen and God bless.