All That You Do

“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” I Cor. 16:13-14

God’s word gives us many great commands to keep us focused on the mission of glorifying God and enjoying Him. In this text there is a whole slew of commands to remind us in short what is expected of us and how we are to live in this world that seeks to undo us on a regular basis. These are NOT given to wear us out …in fact…it is just the opposite.  Knowing God and knowing what He expects makes life easier to navigate.  Notice I didn’t say that they make life EASY…just easier.  They also let us know that God is sure we can do what He commands. With the presence of His Spirit literally nothing is impossible if it be God’s will.

This is one of my many favorite verses. It speaks to us guys in many ways to tell us that our main motivation in life is not to be a success by the worlds standards…but rather to uphold the word and will of our Father in Heaven to His glory. But, God’s word is for both men and women so we must not skip over a passage just because one gender is referenced and another is not. Obedience and submission are not words that many men (or women, for that matter cater to) but it is here under God’s wing that we are to push ahead doing God’s revealed will.

He begins with “Be watchful…” (Be on your guard) prompting us to be aware of our surroundings and the surroundings of all those under our charge. But not only aware but prepared to engage whenever needed in ways that bring God glory. Be watchful, be prepared go hand in hand with do not fear and do not be discouraged…for He is with us even to the end of the age. The God of the whole of creation is with us as our Immanuel and He is for us as our Advocate and Redeemer. So what is our practice for being watchful…not paranoid…but watchful? With this new year, now is time to develop a habit that keeps God’s command for us and for those around us.

Next He says, “…stand firm in the faith…” in other words, we are not to back down…we are not to surrender one inch of God’s kingdom to the world. We are to be men of Issachar in all ways. (If you are unfamiliar with that reference, do you due diligence and look it up and incorporate it into your lives…While originally written for the men of Issachar this is a requirement for all believers…male and female.). We must be students of God’s Word and initiators of His Will to understand them to the point that we can makes sense and help others make sense of the times in which we live. Our role is to glorify God in all that we do which does not allow us to compromise God’s Word or His will…ever…and we are to do this in the Spirit of Christ who never backed down but taught us to lead as servants.

Then He says “…act like men, be strong.” (or be men of courage) this is a very specific reference not unlike the command given to Joshua, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” As His children a we are all to be watchful and we stand firm in the faith…this is what it means to act as God commands in His strength…if the rest of Scripture is to be our guide. God’s people follow God’s Word and will to the letter and in the spirit in which it is given.  God’s people seek to glorify God and to edify those around us. God’s people live for others, serving them, (starting with the household of faith and them moving outward) in such a way that reveals our willingness to die for one another as Christ died for us. God’s people are defined by God’s standard not some standard defined and redefined by the world. This is not much different than another well-known set of commands, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” All of this then brings us to vs. 14.

And lastly, God’s people… love! “Let all that you do be done in love.” Love. “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (I Cor. 13:13) This love is a sacrificial love… “agape” …putting others first, but doing it because you desire to bring God glory not to make yourself look good. It is to be the natural outcome of our loving our God with all our hearts, mind soul and strength. But it is not just a by-product of our love for God…it is also the second greatest commandment according to Jesus. Of course, this means hard work…“agape” love requires everything that we have…all our blood sweat and tears (as we walk and suffer in Christ’s steps) for God’s glory and the good of others…everything! Being always watchful …vigilant; always seeking to stand firm in the faith…diligent; being strong in the Lord…obedient and submissive, not fearful for today is all we may have; loving… “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” So as we enter into this new year what is your plan to love others…place others before yourself in the way Christ did?

This takes a great amount of courage and honor given the culture we live in today. This is what it means for us to be “lights of the world” as Jesus called. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:14-16)

These commands which seemingly are centered on the work of God’s men primarily are for all of us to take up. This isn’t about masculinity it is about all God’s people doing as He commands…being obedient and submissive to Him in His revealed will and then living this way before the people in our lives unapologetic for God’s Word and His Will while we do all of this as He commands…“Let all that you do be done in love.” For without love as defined by Christ, God will not be glorified and if what we do not glorify Him we have failed in our mission. “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”

Happy New Year…and as you read the Scriptures and come across the various commands that lace the pages of our Bibles let us resolve to implement a plan of how we will carry out these commands into this new year. “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men (and women), be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” I Cor. 16:13-14

In His Grip,
Pastor Mike

Picture of Mike Singenstreu

Mike Singenstreu

Mike Singenstreu is Pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church in Victoria, TX.

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