“Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice”
(Please read 1 Corinthians 16:13-14)
Was Paul just being redundant when he gave this advice after admonishing the Corinthians to be watchful, stand firm in the faith, and act like men? Surely all these are related characteristics in an admirable Christian, but the advice to be strong offers new food for thought.
Obviously Paul was writing about spiritual strength here, but let’s think for a moment about strength in physical terms. Our society generally stresses the desirability of having physical strength and we want our children to grow up strong and healthy. So we provide good diets, get them to exercise, and try to protect them from diseases.
In the spiritual realm, people can become strong in about that same way. Our proper food is described by Peter as “the pure milk of the word” (1 Peter 2:2, NASB). Hebrews 5:14 contrasts “milk” with “solid food,” which is “for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.” The maturing process includes not only food for the mature, but practice (exercise) as well. In a sense protection from spiritual disease is available to us, as indicated by Paul’s advice in his first letter to Timothy (5:22), to “keep yourself free from sin.”
The beauty of this process of becoming strong is that it is possible for all of us, no matter how puny we are physically; it isn’t terribly difficult if we just follow instructions; it is of great value in the Lord’s work; and it pays off eternally.
May God bless you with increasing strength in his service.