Christians who are preoccupied with living their lives right in God’s eyes are often called rigid by the world, but being rigid is a positive, according to Paul in 1 Corinthians 16:13-14. In that passage, he stated, “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. Let all your things be done with charity.”
The underlying theme in these verses speaks to being rigidly devoted to the truths of the gospel, not necessarily to the methods we may use to convey the gospel. All too often we as believers equate our methods with the message itself. For example, some may teach that a new believer has to be baptized the same day they confess Jesus as Lord (method) instead of just accepting in general that a believer will be baptized (message) even if it isn’t necessarily the same day as their confession.
When we examine Paul’s words above, it’s very much like a pep talk to soldiers in a war zone. That’s to be expected since we as Christians really are in a spiritual war. So we definitely need to do the following things Paul points out:
- Watch ye. This is a command to stay alert as if one is positioned at a post, looking out for what the enemy might try. It’s a command calling one to be always aware of current situations, learning from past situations, and anticipating future situations where the enemy may use a new form of attack in a culture or society. It is also a call to always have tools and weapons (spiritual or material), knowledge, and wisdom at the ready to fend off spiritual attacks or build up allies.
- Stand fast in the faith. A call to stability to make sure one is not carried about by every wind of doctrine conjured up by crafty men. It’s a reminder that one is firm in knowing that one is saved and cannot lose the eternal gift of salvation, that God and his word are above reproach, and the assurance that God is present no matter what. Even if enemies claim God isn’t real or that the Christian God isn’t the true God.
- Quit you like men. This is a prompting to be courageous, not having a type of weak, fearful, cowardly and/or lazy spirit that flees or folds at the first sign of trouble. It’s having a spirit that stands up to the enemy’s attempts to get one to compromise one’s godly morals to be accepted by them, such as when they speak lightly of fornication or astrology as if they’re no big deal.
- Be strong. A prodding to rely on God’s strength to go forth with the weapons of warfare which are not carnal but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:4). It also stirs up the confidence that the Lord has given us power over all the power of the enemy (Luke 10:19).
- Do all things with charity. Essentially, all of the above are to be done in a spirit of unconditional love for God and for other people. Love shows just how real God is to us and how serious our relationship with him is, so that whether we win a battle or lose one, it will be a testimony to unbelievers that causes them to consider a relationship with Jesus Christ. For fellow believers, our spirit of love serves as encouragement to press on in the Lord in good times and bad.