As we look at the last chapter of 1 Corinthians today, it's fitting to focus on verses 13-14:
1 Corinthians 16:13-14 (NIV)
13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 14 Do everything in love.
Just as these two verses summarize Paul's entire letter of 1 Corinthians, I pray that these two verses would also summarize the way you lived this life. As disciples of Jesus Christ, may we always be on our guard against sin, Satan and temptation, may we stand firm in the faith, be courageous and strong, and do everything in love.
On the point about standing firm in the faith (v13), remember this: an oak tree is never born big and strong. Rather, an oak tree is really just a nut that insisted on standing firm and refused to give up. May you be that nut who refused to give up on the things God has called you to (whether it's to have a daily time in His Word or a weekly time to worship with His people, or to be in a small group, or to serve God with your talents, or to train up your kids spiritually, or to lead your family and neighbours to Jesus). May it be said of you that because you stood firm in the faith and refused to give up, you grew into a big and strong oak tree that provides shelter and shade for those around you.
Stand firm in the faith. As Jon Courson writes,
People who are successful in any endeavor have one thing in common: They're part of the one percent who finish what they begin.
Don't be part of the 99% who start with great ideas and much passion (whether it's concerning their career, their family or the kingdom of God) but who give up mid way when things get tough. Instead, stand firm in the faith.
Just as Jesus went to the cross and said "It is finished", may you too finish the race God has given you to run. My prayer for you is that when you breathe your last breath, you'll be able to say to God, "It is finished", and hear Him say in response, "Well done, good and faithful servant."