In I Corinthians 16:13-14, the Apostle Paul gives a brief, but powerful challenge. “Watch ye stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. Let all your things be done with charity.”
There are five words here that will help each Christian to survive the perilous times.
• Watch. According to Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, this means “guard; vigilance for keeping or protecting against danger.” It is amazing how many Christians seem to be drifting through life without any awareness of the extreme danger that they, and their families, are facing. I Peter 5:8 says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” These are perilous times and Satan is seeking to destroy lives. In order to survive, a Christian must have a sober awareness of what is happening around him.
• Stand. Each Christian must be planted firmly on the truth of God’s Word. The Christian is challenged to stand against Satan and evil. Ephesians 6:13 says, “Take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Each Christian must determine to stand for righteousness if he plans on surviving through perilous times.
• Quit. That word may seem out of place in this list, but Webster’s 1828 Dictionary gives a definition of “quit” that was in usage when the Bible was first translated into English. “To carry through; to do or perform something to the end, so that nothing remains; to discharge or perform completely.” The truth is that everyone quits at some point. However, there is no shame in quitting once the job has been completed. In order to survive, each Christian must be committed to standing against evil until the battle is over.
• Strong. Paul says “be strong,” and that is an absolute necessity for anyone who is going to survive these perilous times. A Christian must remember the source of his strength. Ephesians 6:10 says, “Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.” Each Christian will need to stay close to the Lord if he wants to survive.
• Charity. Sometimes, all the talk of danger and battle can make one rough and harsh. Paul says, “Let all your things be done with charity.” Charity is a selfless love for others. It gives. It is patient. It overlooks faults (Read I Corinthians 13).
Yes, each Christian should take a stand against evil, but he is also instructed to demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ. I Corinthians 13:2 says that if “I have not charity, I am nothing.” Each Christian must have love if he is to survive the perilous times.
The Rev. Timothy Benefield is pastor of Golden Valley Baptist Church. Sermon notes is a column by local religious leaders.