There was a good reason why this was Paul’s final word to a church he had planted and visited a second time. It was a church that 27 years later lost the love they had for Christ when they first believed in Him. Though Paul did not know this would happen, he was very wise to warn them from prison that dangers lie ahead.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:10–11).
It is not personal strength or determination that makes us strong, but how we see ourselves “in the Lord.” This theme is all through Paul’s letters — seeing who we are in Christ and the absolute need of depending on His strength, not our own. This kind of close and dependent walk with Christ is what keeps us from departing from that first, fervent, hot love for our Savior.
To another church that had struggled with all sorts of sin among its members, Paul said, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13). To be strong we must also “be watchful.” In other words, be alert and always be aware that dangers to our faith are everywhere. The enemy of our souls and our witness is always seeking to shake us from the solid foundation of faith in Christ. Spiritual manhood and womanhood mean that we refuse to be weakened by popular and seductive teaching that is not according to the Word of God.
As a soldier of Jesus Christ, commit yourself to standing strong in Him, no matter what the cost!
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