“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV)
I would like to use these mid-week devotionals to look at a series of benedictions we encounter the Bible. Last time we looked at 1 Pet. 5:10-11. A benediction is simply a “good word”. I often end our services with a benediction as a way to pray for all of us before we part for the week. Since our parting is extended right now, I thought it might be encouraging to study a few of the benedictions we use as a church. These are often concise statements that pack a high concentration of encouragement and theological truth into a small package.
Today’s benediction is found in 1 Corinthians 15:58, and it comes near the end the Apostle Paul’s extended teaching on the resurrection. In this verse Paul calls the Corinthians (and us) to do 2 things as Christians.
1. We are called to stand
Paul calls us to be steadfast and immovable in our faith and walk with the Lord. As Christians we face many things that will tempt us to sway and swerve from the path of righteousness. Sin, false teaching, fleshly struggles, and various trials and tribulations can tempt us to simply be blown about by the winds of worldliness that surround us. Biblical Christians are to be firm and immovable; planted firmly in the truth of God’s Word, and grounded in the grace of God.
Paul does not call us to stand firm simply by summoning enough will-power and internal strength from within. It is vital to notice that Paul’s call to be steadfast is grounded in what Paul said in verse 57. Here Paul says, ““But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” God has already given us the victory over sin and death through Jesus Christ, therefore, we are to be steadfast and immovable. We can be true in our faith because of the triumph of Jesus.
2. We are called to strive
Paul also calls us to abound in the work of the Lord. As we stand firm in the faith we are also to strive to be faithful in the good works the Lord has prepared for us. Notice the encouragement Paul gives as he highlights the fact that the work of the Lord is not in vain. I don’t know about you, but it is very easy to feel as if our good works are in vain right now. Because of the physical distance we are experiencing, it is tempting to think that the love, encouragement, and service we offer to others is less effective. I feel this way myself on a regular basis! The work of the Lord, however, is never in vain.
My prayer for all of us this week is that we would stand firm in the faith, and that we would strive to abound in the good work the Lord has for us. May you stand and strive as you live in the light of the victory we have through Jesus Christ.