Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love. -I Corinthians 16:13, 14
Something I have learned about sports, from youth sports to professional, is that sometimes the underdog can rise and utterly trounce the favorite. We go into the game certain that our team can beat the other team. Our team is better, we have never been beaten, we have better talent, and the other team is known for their poor winning record. And then suddenly those guys we were certain we’d whip come alive and give the champs a thrashing. Yes, I have seen that happen more times than I can remember. It’s those teams we are certain we can beat that we need to watch out for.
At the close of the book of I Corinthians, Paul the Apostle gave a strong warning to the believers: “Be on your guard.” That is sound advice that followers of Christ do well to take to heart. Here was a group of believers that had let their guard down and the results had been a disaster. Doctrinal error, divisions, strife, and immorality had crept into the church and nearly wrecked their fellowship. If they were to recover and get back into a right relationship with God they would have to from then in be on their guard. Perhaps the church had become lured into thinking that the temptations and problems they faced could be easily defeated. They quickly found out that those enticements they believed would be so easily overcome rose up and nearly defeated them.
My advice for growing in the faith and walking in spiritual victory has long been to never take an attitude of “that will never happen to me.” Many believers have been nearly destroyed by sins they thought they could have defeated. When we find ourselves standing on the solid rock of Christ and our lives are heading in a positive direction, then be on our guard and resolve to stay there – by Christ’s power. When we are standing firm the devil will do his level best to dislodge us from that stance.
Walk forward in grace, prayer, humility, and the spiritual power that comes from a close and personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Trust in Him each day to give us victory over that which would otherwise have brought us down. Never underestimate the power of the devil. But also remember that God is greater and more powerful than any evil and temptation we will face. Trust the Lord and walk in that blessed spiritual power – today and every day.