“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.”
-1 Corinthians 16:13
I apologize for the late arrival of this weeks memory verse blog. Christina flew to Ohio for a quick trip and I was on Daddy duty all day and this is the first opportunity I’ve had to sit and write at my computer.
In this passage there are four imperatives or what we would call in our modern day vernacular “commands”: Be on your guard” “stand firm” “be courageous” “be strong”
These four commands could be perceived by just a reading of the one text to indicate encouragement to a group that is being persecuted or encouragement to remain strong ’till the end times. But as we read the book of Corinthians we see that the issues addressed by Paul to this church are about moral failure and a lack of spiritual maturity when dealing and perceiving spiritual issues. Thus this text should be seen as a call “to stand firm in the faith” not in the face of external persecution but rather in the face of the internal temptations they have to fall morally. The text I am having you memorize is the New International Version, but many of the versions I read and study most often, the English Standard Version and the New American Standard Bible translate the phrase “be courageous” as “act like men” the reason for this is because according to the New International Greek Testament Commentary on 1 Corinthians this Greek word ἀνδρίζεσθε seems to turn to a male focus but the commentary suggests rather than making things gender exclusive it seems that what the Greek is trying to say is, “show mature courage” again a reference back to what I was saying before about the Corinthian church struggling morally because they are spiritually immature.
I’ll give you an example, when I was a baby Christian only a couple years into my journey with Jesus someone criticized my hair. I had bleached white hair. I dwelt on that and dwelt on that…in fact more than one person made comments about my hair and I thought to myself all kinds of negative thoughts about the church and how unkind…yada yada yada…why did I respond that way and sin by holding bitterness and anger against those people? Because I was spiritually immature. Now nearly 21 years into my journey with the Lord if someone criticized my hair or really anything and I spent a bunch of time talking about it and being angry and bitter about it, if there were a modern day Paul he would say to me, “Chad show some mature courage” i.e. “don’t be a baby about things be spiritually mature enough to deal with these types of situations.”
This text maybe needs to be memorized by some of us in this way, “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; show mature courage; be strong.” Because many of us that should not stumble in sin the way a baby/newbie Christian would and God through this text may be reminding us, or letting us know it is time to grow-up, to start to be mature in our faith!
I pray you plant this word deep in your heart and that it will grow and bless your life this week…and that all of us at the end of this week find ourselves much stronger in the faith of Jesus than we are today!