A Special Kind of Soldier

A Special Kind of Soldier

Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love. (1 Corinthians 16:13–14)

Near the end of this letter to the Corinthian disciples of Jesus, Paul hoped to stir their sense of responsibility and courage for the Christian life. In these two verses, Paul told them to do four things, and then gave an overall principle for how they must do the four things.

Each of the four things were military in nature, describing things a soldier might do.

A Special Kind of Soldier

Christians are to watch. They are to be continually on guard and live in such a way that they are not surprised by difficulties or by great blessings, such as the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus commanded His disciples to watch (Matthew 24:42, 26:41, Mark 13:37).

Christians are to stand fast in the faith. The idea is that there are many things that would shake or move a believer from their secure footing in the Christian faith. This also has the sense of soldiers standing together, ready to face and fight the enemy. A few scattering soldiers can mean defeat. Like a soldier needs a strong standing position in battle, the disciples of Jesus need to stand strong. Paul warned believers to stand fast in their liberty in Jesus (Galatians 5:1), in Christian unity (Philippians 1:27), in the Lord Himself (Philippians 4:1), and in the teaching of the apostles (2 Thessalonians 2:15).

Christians are to be brave. This is the only place in the New Testament where this word is used (andrizomai). Literally it means, “to act like a man.” There is a place for all disciples of Jesus Christ, men and women, to choose the courage a brave soldier must have in his time of battle: unflinching, pressing forward. This quality is especially necessary among Christian men, but it isn’t limited to them.

Christians are to be strong. The believer’s strength comes not from their own resources, but from the Lord and His power. We can be strong in the Lord and the power of His might (Ephesians 6:10, 2 Timothy 2:1). The strength of individual believers helps the church of Jesus Christ as a whole.

Those four things are important to the soldier and, by analogy, to the disciples of Jesus Christ: readiness, steadfastness, bravery, and strength. Yet for the solider, there is a sense in which they are enough–but not for the Christian. For the follower of Jesus Christ, all the watching, all the standing fast, all the bravery, and all the strength appropriate for the solider might mean nothing without love. That’s why God told us, let all that you do be done with love. If the Christian loses love, they lose everything (1 Corinthians 13:1–3).

Dear brother or sister in Jesus Christ, take seriously your responsibility as God’s solder. Yet realize you are special kind of soldier, one that needs to do it all with love. God helping us, we will.

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