1 Corinthians 16:13 (NLT) Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.
In the final chapter of 1 Corinthians, Paul encourages the believers to stand firm in their faith. As Christians living in the world today, we should follow the instructions Paul gave to the church at Corinth. You see, Paul understood something. He knew first-hand about the persecution the believers would face because he experienced it himself. Being a follower of Jesus Christ was not easy in Paul’s day. Sometimes to follow Christ meant facing death.
The same is true in today’s society. There are Christians persecuted because of their faith every day. Some of them, not so much those in the United States, even die because they profess the name of Jesus. Paul encourages us to be on guard and be strong. In the book of Ephesians, Paul tells us to put on the full armor of God (Eph. 6:10 – 18) so that we can stand against the tricks of Satan.
Satan is a deceiver and for every truth in the Bible, he has a mirror opposite.
Just take a look at the first couple, Adam and Eve. God had created them and placed them in the most lavish garden on earth. He told them they were free to eat from any tree except for the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Gen 2: 16 – 17) located in the center of the garden. Satan comes on the scene and makes Adam and Eve doubt what God had told them “Did God say not to eat from any tree in the garden?” (Gen 3:1)
Eve replied with what God had said and Satan turned it all around by making God out to be strict and stingy not wanting them to share in His knowledge of good and evil. We all know what happened after that right? Eve believed the lie and Satan has been wreaking havoc on God’s children ever since.
That’s why Paul encourages us to stand firm. He understood that the struggle Christians face would not be again flesh and blood. It is against Satan (the master deceiver) and his band of fallen angels (demons). There is a battle being fought for your soul. The closer you get to Christ and living a life in Him, the more Satan will try to trip you up. It is our job to be aware of his tricks and fight with God’s strength by “hiding His Word” in our hearts (Psalm 119:11).
We also have to remember that we will never have to fight the battle alone. “In this world you will have troubles,” Jesus told his disciples, “but take heart, I have overcome the world!” Isn’t this encouraging news?
I know that if I look at the battles I face from where God is sitting I can withstand anything because:
- When Satan stirs up thoughts of my past I know I am a new creation in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17)
- I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength (Phil 4:13)
- If I come near to Christ, He will come near to me (James 4:8)
Today, may I encourage you to read Psalm 121 and find confidence in Christ by claiming these words as your own.
I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let my foot slip, He who watches over me will not slumber; indeed, He who watches over me will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over me, the LORD is my shade at my right hand; the sun will not harm me by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep me from all harm He will watch over my life; the LORD will watch over my coming and going both now and forevermore.