Guts and God’s Will
“Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” I Corinthians 16:13
No one ever said the Christian life would be easy. Where did such an idea ever come from? Certainly it wasn’t from Jesus. He taught His disciples that blessings are reserved for the persecuted and the reviled; for those who are insulted and slandered for the name of Christ. Jesus gives the ones who follow Him a warning, “. . . If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; . . . “ (John 15:20) Christianity is not for the faint of heart.
It’s easy to forget the difficult dimension of following Jesus. We get too soft, too tender, too sensitive and delicate. Being fragile is not a spiritual virtue. Christianity is not for the weak. A disciple with thin skin becomes a walking wound and soon finds themselves distracted, discouraged and ultimately defeated. The road of faithfulness is long and the way of Jesus is demanding. Paul, who wrote this verse to the Corinthians, was under no delusion that the way would be easy, that he would hear the cheering and applause of others.
He listened to the will of God and leaned in to whatever circumstance he encountered. Through hard days and difficult times, beatings, imprisonment, stoning and ship wrecks, Paul endured. He faced hateful treatment from opponents and believers. There were ugly letters, mockings, insults and satanic oppression, but Paul pressed on. He suffered health issues, he spent long seasons in damp, dark prisons and never complained, but instead, gave thanks. Paul makes even the best Christians today look weak.
Paul had the guts to do the will of God. The secret to his endurance is right here in this verse, “be on the alert” because there is an enemy who is seeking to kill, steal and destroy; “stand firm in the faith” nothing in the life of faith comes easy, nor does it come without great price; “act like men,” the war is not child’s play and only the mature thrive in the battle; “be strong,” only those who surrender to the will of God find the guts to go on.
There are daily pressures upon me, but I will not lose my faith or my focus on you, Lord Jesus.