Be on your guard, stand firm in the faith, live like men, be strong! Let everything that you do be done in love.1 Corinthians 16: 13-14
As Paul concludes his first letter to the church at Corinth, he inserts a final significant spiritual challenge to the people in five simply powerful phrases intended to strengthen and deepen their daily walk with God.
A number of versions of the Bible, translate the first phrase to “be on your guard, be watchful, be alert, be vigilant.” Think about it for a moment, when you are watchful, alert and on guard, in spiritual terms, there are practical considerations as well:
- As a leader, you are to be watchful for those under your care.
- You are to be on the lookout for false teaching that undermines the Gospel (there’s plenty out there).
- You must be on your guard in areas of personal weakness so that you can remain strong.
What would you add to the list? Here’s the problem. Many of us are lulled into a state of practical sleep.
In his book, Holy Ambition, Chip Ingram refers to this as a kind of desensitization. Sometimes we are so bombarded with external forces of our western culture, that we lose our focus.
Paul underscores the importance of this first phrase when he challenged the Thessalonians, “so then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober” (1 Thessalonians 5:6).
What is one practical step you can take today to remain vigilant in your faith?