Some of the greatest faith lessons I've learned came from the greetings in the New Testament letters. Whether at the beginning or the end of an epistle, they are always interesting. Sometimes the greeting it is a blessing or hello before digging deeper into all kinds of spiritual stuff and sometimes it is a wrap-up of everything dug up.
So, this week I came to the end of Paul's first letter to the Corinthians. Chapter 16:13 says, Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love. One verse, many life lessons to learn. I could write another series of posts on one single verse :) This time however my interest was triggered by the word FIRM. Stand firm in the faith... Surely it is not always easy to stand firm. Paul almost writes it like an afterthought... oh yeah, by the way... stand firm. He makes it sound so easy, but it is easier said than done. The question that came to my mind was: How do we stand firm in the faith, since we see so many fall away?
The answer came quick, I found it at the beginning of the second letter to the Corinthians. 2 Corinthians 1:21 says: Now it is God who makes us and you stand firm in Christ. We may think we will succeed to stand firm by sheer will power or in our own strength, but it is actually God who makes us stand firm. Honestly I do not always feel that, I sometimes even doubt it and I do feel weak from time to time. Yet, reading and believing this scripture releases the pressure to perform. It is not me, it is God who makes me stand firm. Even standing firm is a matter of trust!
Paul ends his opening chapter with a word of encouragement: it is by faith you stand firm. So, not by physical proof or emotional feelings, but by faith I can stand firm. By believing that what God says is true. I may sometimes feel my knees are trembling or my steps are insecure, but God has my back covered!