1 Corinthians 16:13-14 Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do ever thing with love.
Paul is talking to the Church, to believers, to Christians. He is telling is here that we have to be on guard... we must pay attention, the devil will use anything to trip us up, even our faith. Satin even used scripture on Jesus in the wilderness to try and get Him to sin. So we must know God's word so we can defend ourselves. And we must watch out for the people, or things that Satin sends our way to trip us up.
Then we must stand firm in our faith. I didn't know how to do that until I started reading my Bible every day. Until I surrounded myself with people that loved God. I stand firm by renewing my mind each day in God's word. I stand firm by getting what I know will be Godly advice from Godly people. I stand firm by choosing what God would have me do!! Do I mess up? All the time!! But I go to God and He forgives me and I learn from my mistakes and I ask God to give me His grace to do better next time I am faced with the same or a similar situation. I am learning... and I will continue to learn until Christ comes back. That is a promise from God that He will grow us until the day of Jesus' return. (Philippians 1:6)
We have to have courage...the courage to stand up for what we believe in. The courage to be different... The courage to be called a "Jesus freak." We have to have courage to stand strong if things ever get really hard for Christians. If we can't stand up to everyday challenges of being a Christians, how will we ever be able to stand up if the world turns against us? We must have courage. We must be strong in anything we face as God's child. And we must stand firm in being a child of God no matter what somebody else thinks!!
And last but so important is that we must do all of this in love. We must be on guard in love, we must be courageous in love, we must be strong in love. Everything we do needs to be done in love!! And that can be hard. So often we stand firm, in an argument. With an I am going to win this at all cost attitude! No matter what I do to you...I am standing firm. We must stand firm in love, we must take courage in love... we must at all times, in every situation act in love. I was not taught how to do this growing up, my mother was not taught how to do this growing up, I probably didn't teach my kids how to do this. But God's word tells me that I should do all things in love. In Matthew 7:11 it tells us that even the evil love know how to give gifts to people they love. The Christian thing is to love our enemies... to treat our enemies with love to treat strangers with love...and to stand firm in love to the people we love, to the people we don't know...and to stand firm in love to the people that don't like us.
Love is an actions not a feeling... it is easy for anybody to act in love toward people they feel love for... as Christians we are called to act in love toward everybody, even those who hate us. We have to be strong enough to act in love if somebody has a gun to our heads. We have to be strong enough to use our last words to try and win that soul into the kingdom of heaven out of love. We are called to be that courageous, that strong, that loving. And if we can't act in love to our family when we are standing firm, how could we ever act in love in the toughest of situations? We must practice, work at, be determined to stand firm, be courageous, to be strong and in everything, even the hardest of things act in love.