Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love. - 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 NRSV
As our children mature, we all look for words of wisdom to share with them. We desire to equip them, to the best we can, for facing the world. Years later, we may take pride when we see our advice is followed. Yet, at other times, we may reflect on missed opportunities.
In the closing of this letter to the church in Corinth, the Apostle Paul doesn't want to miss out on imparting sound wisdom to his spiritual children. His concisely expressed advice holds as valid today as then. Stay alert at all times against temptation. Stand solidly for our convictions. We will be opposed and challenged for our beliefs, so be courageous -- don't relent. In those times of trial, be strong. He saves the best for last; let everything we do be done in love. It is in love that God is evident in our lives.
By no means is Paul suggesting we can do this by ourselves. It's simply not possible. We can only live in these words of wisdom with God's help. There will be days we don't feel like we can do any of these things, but the Holy Spirit is there to guide us. The Father is there to listen and answer prayers, and Jesus Christ is with us to intercede on our behalf. God has promised never to leave us or forsake us.
God, we thank you for your grace. Please help us as we live into your wisdom; keep us alert against sin, stand firm in our faith, give us courage in our convictions and strength for the journey. May our lives ever be filled with the evidence of your love, and help us share this same love with others. Amen.