8/3 1 Corinthians 16:13-14

13 Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done in love.

Paul gave the Corinthians one final string of admonitions before closing his first letter to them. "Be watchful." Jesus used the same Greek word when He asked the disciples to watch with Him in the garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:40-41). It means to be spiritually alert. Is there something in your life that is tempting you to compromise? Does someone in the faith need your encouragement? Is God setting an opportunity before you to step into those good works He prepared in advance for you to do (Ephesians 2:10)?

"Stand firm in the faith!" Don't compromise or waiver. There will always be challenges to your faith from people and circumstances. Remember the examples of those who have gone before you. Remember Jesus' example. Remember that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. Giving in to discouragement and doubt may mean the end of your effectiveness for the Kingdom. I've seen it lead to depression in the lives of believers. Don't start down that path. Stand firm in the faith, act like men, and be strong in the Lord.

Do everything in love. This is agape love. We serve out of love. If all our service is to the Lord, then we should do it because we love Him. Yes, He will reward us. Yes, it is the right thing to do. But our motivation for all our service should be our love for Him and for those made in His image. We will be tempted to operate out of routine, or duty, or even anger. That should warn us that we are not in the Spirit. Love is the first fruit of the Spirit and a telltale sign that we are acting in Christ.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I need Your life in me to help me stay alert. Be my strength. Help me to stand firm in the faith against the pressures of this fallen world. May all that I do be done out of love for You. Let it be Your love that flows through me.