Have you ever had a non-believer tell you that you weren’t acting like a Christian? Somehow, the world has this idea that all Christians should be prim and proper pacifists, gracefully accepting of anything and everything the world would throw at us. And for some reason, the Church has often helped to perpetuate this falsehood. Paul closes off his first letter to the church at Corinth with some language that is anything but passive.
Be on guard. Stand true to what you believe. Be courageous. Be strong. And everything you do must be done with love.
1 Corinthians 16:13-14 (NLT)
These verses, as is, are inspiring. We could all throw up a fist and shout a hearty amen, but let’s go deeper.
What does it mean to be on guard? Do we need armour? Weapons? Should we be behind a wall or shield?
GUARD: to watch by way of caution or defense; to secure against objection or the attacks of malevolence.
To be on guard is more than just standing around waiting. It is to be ready and prepared at all times.
What about standing? If guarding is more than standing, surely standing must mean more than just being on our feet. It would seem silly if Paul were instructing an entire church to never sit or lay down.
STAND: to be on its foundation; not to be overthrown or demolished; to be fixed or steady; to be in or maintain a posture of resistance or defense.
For a long time, much of the Church has been passive. We’ve somehow got it in our minds that resistance isn’t the “Christian” thing to do. Read your Bible. There is a whole lot of resistance going on. We are to resist the devil. We are to resist temptation. We are to resist against anything that would come against the knowledge of Christ. Why would God give us weapons if He didn’t want us to use them?
So, if we are to stand up to and resist, how do we know what to stand for?
TRUE: conformable to fact; being in accordance with the actual state of things; genuine; pure; real; not counterfeit, adulterated or false; faithful; loyal; honest; exact; straight; right.
We have a whole book full of truth in front of us. If we believe it, we are to guard it with our lives and stand up to anything that doesn’t line up with it.
And how should we go about doing all this?
COURAGEOUS: brave; bold; daring; intrepid; hardy to encounter difficulties and dangers; adventurous; enterprising.
STRONG: well fortified; able to sustain attacks; not easily subdued or taken.
Does any of this sound passive to you? Nothing here would indicate that the Church is supposed to be a bunch of pacifist pansies waiting to take anything and everything the world throws at us. I’m not saying that we literally take up weapons and go to war against the world, but we must know that we are in a spiritual battle. As soon as we forget that we’re in a fight, we’ve already lost.
We are human, but we don’t wage war with human plans and methods. We use God’s mighty weapons, not mere worldly weapons, to knock down the Devil’s strongholds. With these weapons we break down every proud argument that keeps people from knowing God. With these weapons we conquer their rebellious ideas, and we teach them to obey Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NLT)
It’s time to join the resistance.
Daily Bible reading: Proverbs 13-14, 1 Corinthians 16