1 Corinthians 16.13-14 commands, be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.
A quick summary of how those who claim to be Christians are to live the Christian life in this pagan world that opposes God and the truth of His Word. We are to watch ourselves, guard our conduct, character and thinking, lest we become sucked into the ways of the world. Our flesh is weak though our spirit is willing to obey. The ideas of satan to disobey God are subtle and appealing to our feelings but they move us out of alignment with God’s will, and when followed, lead us to a place completely at odds with His Word. The best defense is a good offense.
We must grow in our faith, constantly saturating our heart and mind with God’s word and moving our hands and feet to action, building God’s kingdom upon earth as it is in heaven. In these ways we will find ourselves active and busy, unable to give ourselves to the counter-works of the flesh or the devil. Serving God and sharing His Word in a hostile culture will make us enemies of men who love the flesh and despise the ways of God.
Some of these men are dangerous and capable of doing us great physical and economic harm. To be faithful to God in these circumstances we must be courageous and strong, willing to become like Jesus, suffering for the sake of the Kingdom. We cannot love God and compromise with the world. Strength of character, firm resolve in our faith, and courage to engage the battle of ideas are necessary for serving God effectively in such an environment.
Finally, our motive must be love. God so loved the world which is why He came to be our Savior. So too, in all we do, we are to do out of love for God and love for people. Love will keep us from quitting, taking revenge and having a bad attitude. Like caring for our tired, temper tantrum laden two year old, we are to do the right thing and speak God’s word while embracing the broken, and ministering to their sickness, from a heart of love that is manifest in patience, compassion and kindness.
Living this way will change the world, just as the world was changed when the church first started living this way.