13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 14 Do everything in love. 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 NIV
The phrase “be on your guard” struck my curiosity, so I looked it up. Here is what I found:
Cambridge dictionary: to be careful to avoid being tricked or getting into a dangerous situation.
Freedictionary.com: to be careful and aware because a situation might be dangerous.
Thirdmill.org: to be vigilant, especially with a view toward Christ’s return…God’s people should remain watchful and fully alert to thwart the spiritual forces of darkness.
Answers.com: you must remain alert, anticipating an attack or other trouble.
So we are to expect trouble, trickery, attacks and danger. In this state of awareness, we are to stand firmly in faith and love. Think about that. In the midst of warfare, stand firmly in faith and love. In perfect love there is no fear. All the trouble, trickery, attacks and danger are related to this world: both the physical realm and the prince of darkness. If we are not tricked or sucked into these things, we are able to stand firmly in the victory that has already been won in Christ.
In Acts, Paul was on a ship that was going to be destroyed. He knew this because God had already told him. He also knew every life would be spared. So picture this: huge storm, impending shipwreck. Everyone on the boat is fearing for their life as the boat is being tossed around like a toothpick and dashed against rocks. Paul stood firm in his faith in God’s message. He encourages the other men on the ship. He might has said something like, “Guys, don’t worry! I already know how this is going down – I have to stand trial and you all are safe with me. I know this because God told me. So don’t be afraid! His Word is golden!”
In the face of the storm Paul was full of encouragement and courage. When I read this scripture I even sense joy.
Father, I pray my ear will be tucked into you so closely that not only will I know when trouble is coming, I will also know the outcome and trust you to do it.