“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:13
These are all very difficult commands in this Bible verse. Each and every one of them takes concentrated effort and discipline. Yet Paul lists them off in a list, one after another, with no specific instructions as to how. That’s what makes this verse so powerful to me. It makes me realize that each one of the things in this list is a conscious choice. Be strong, be courageous. It’s just a choice. There’s nothing that can help you be courageous or strong, you just have to choose it.
Another thing that really strikes me about this verse is that he starts off the verse with “Be on your guard.” That’s a poignant phrase to me, because I rarely think about being on guard. Most of my days, I take life as it comes, being stressed out by whatever trials come my way and bent out of shape when things don’t go my way. I don’t think about becoming a better man, being strong and courageous. I just think about the trials and troubles of the day. And that’s probably why I fall. Without being on your guard, constantly realizing that you’re in a struggle and that being a strong and courageous man who stands firm is the ultimate goal of that struggle, you’ll fall apart. So that’s the first step. Be on your guard, and hopefully the rest will follow suit.