As I reflect over my five years of being a Christian, theres one thing that certainly stands out to me, and that is, the hard things that God has called me to do. The hard conversations with friends about what I see in their lives, witnessing to people I don’t feel comfortable talking to, taking a risk while trusting God, and the list can go on and certainly will go on. I’m certainly not complaining, just observing. In 1 Corinthians 16, Paul seems to be preparing the church for things I’m touching on when he says:
“stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” (1 Cor. 16:13 ) ESV
Why would we need to be exhorted like that if there wasn’t anything we needed to prepare for? The answer is, in the Christian life, we are called to go against the grain, against worldly mindsets; pleasing God instead of man which often looks like going against natural inclinations; its a life going against the flesh and against the wisdom of this world which lies in all of the people who are not in Christ. Paul, but really God, exhorts us to act like men and be strong so that we can do these hard things. But how do we just be strong? Well, What I’ve learned so far as a young Christian about how to “be strong” and to walk in these tasks that are so unnatural to me are two things:
1. Entreat the Lord in prayer earnestly. “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might…..Praying at all times in the Spirit with all prayer and supplication.” (Ephesians 6:10,18) ESV
2. Do it in love, by the Lord’s enabling. “Let all that you do be done in love” (1 Cor. 16:13)
With these two fundamentals, I have left the times the Lord has called me to do uncomfortable things praising Him, because after praying and being watchful in it, it was His grace and strength that enabled me to do them.
As Oswald Chambers has said:
“If we are going to live as disciples of Jesus, we have to remember that all noble things are difficult, but the difficulty of it does not make us faint and cave in, it rouses us up to overcome.” (From ‘My Utmost For His Highest’)
May the Lord continue to give us grace and strength in our hour of need and to be strong. He is faithful to do so.