I’ve always be thankful for some of the wording in I Corinthians 16: “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love (13-14).”
Since I’m a little slow of foot, I don’t run much; but, I’m a Gold Medal winner when it comes to standing. If Paul would have said “run fast,” I’d be in serious trouble.
The word stand is grēgoreō, and it means “to be vigilant and attentive.” There are several things that demand your attention, and Peter issues a warning about two of them. One is pride and the other one is the adversary:
God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble’. So, humble yourselves under God’s strong hand, and in his own good time he will lift you up. You can throw the whole weight of your anxieties upon him, for you are his personal concern. Resist the devil: you are in God’s hands.
Be self-controlled and vigilant always, for your enemy the devil is always about, prowling like a lion roaring for its prey. Resist him, standing firm in your faith.
What is the link between the pride and the adversary? In the Proverbs, pride is listed as one of the seven deadly sins, and it’s characterized as a “My way, not Thy way” attitude. This was the case when Lucifer rebelled against God:
“I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High(Isaiah 14:13-14).”
To borrow a phrase from Zig Ziglar, this is “stinkin thinkin,”and Paul warned of it: “I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think. Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one (Romans 12:3).”
Pride is thinking too highly of yourself, and it always separates you from God. The Bible says, “In his pride the wicked does not seek Him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God (Psalm 10:4).
C.S. Lewis defined pride as, “the complete anti-God state of mind.”
Instead of trying to lift yourself up in the false bravado of pride, humble yourself before God, and He will lift you up. This is one of several paradoxes of Christianity:
- To find, you must lose—Matthew 10:39
- To receive, you must give—Luke 6:38
- To be exalted, you must be humble—Matthew 23:12
- To be great you must be small—Matthew 18:4
- To be strong, you must be weak—2 Corinthians 12:9,10
- To rule, you must serve—Mark 10:42-45
- To live, you must die—Galatians 2:20
The key to this is found in the last nine words of I Corinthians 16: “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love (13-14).”
Paul’s “key” was a statement, but you might understand it better in the form of a question: Who do you love the most, self or the Savior?