Scripture: 1 Corinthians 16:1-24
Observation: Paul closes his first letter to the Corinthians, letting them know when he plans to visit again and that his co-worker, Timothy, will visit them as well. He leaves them with words of encouragement.
Application: Finishing a book has always been a bittersweet experience for me. Maybe it’s because I’ve always loved to read and write, but there’s just something so captivating about the last few lines of a book. The author often has hundreds of pages to bring everything to a close, to weave together a final tapestry of the storyline they created, and then eventually it’s time to write those few last words, the ones that offer a reader closure or suspense or hope (or if they’re really talented, all three simultaneously.)
I love the final words Paul chooses to end this letter with:
“Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.” (verse 12)
- Be on guard. The enemy is real in our lives, seeking to attack and destroy all good things that God has placed there. Therefore, we must be keenly aware of anything that pulls us away from the sanctifying hope and grace of Jesus and do everything we can to be strong and outlast any temptation that comes our way.
- Stand firm in the faith. We often think the opposite of faith is doubt, but the truth is that the opposite of faith is simply fear of losing control. When that fear piles up, it pushes us further and further away from our Creator. Let’s allow faith, not fear, to be our guide.
- Be courageous. When life feels overwhelming, be courageous – God is with you. When the unexpected is thrown your way, be courageous – God is for you. When you feel defeated, be courageous – Jesus lives in you.
- Be strong. The Lord himself is the source of all strength. When we are weak, he is strong.
- And do everything with love. God is love, and we were designed in his image, which means we were created to reflect love. Whatever you do today, do it with deep love and commitment.
Prayer: God, let me be on guard, stand firm, be courageous, be strong, and do everything with great love. Amen.
P.S. Although this is the final day of our 1st Corinthians study, we'll start our 2nd Corinthians study soon! We're taking a break next week, and we'll jump into 2nd Corinthians on Monday, June 27th. See you then!