Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
When Paul admonishes us to “stand firm,” he wants Christ’s followers to keep on keepin’ on. Don’t allow anyone to sway you from sound doctrine or hinder you from serving the Lord.
Paul devoted considerable ink to defending the resurrection of the dead. False preachers in the Corinthian church denied that essential doctrinal truth. Some of the local believers were swayed by the false teaching, and Paul took them to task.
The Apostle’s proclamation of the gospel maintained that saving faith included believing in Christ’s resurrection. If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)
Paul refers to Jesus as “the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” (1 Corinthians 15:20) Then we who have trusted the Lord for eternal life will also be bodily resurrected. You can’t have one without the other. And if you deny this doctrinal absolute: “… your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” (1 Corinthians 15:17)
WHAT we believe is as important as believing.
Even today, there are people who call themselves Christians who deny anything supernatural about Christ. No resurrection. No ascension into heaven. They say Jesus’ body was stolen by His disciples. Their sole reason for saying they follow Christ is because they like His teachings. They also deny His miracles. Paul says to those who believe this way, “you have believed in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:2) In fact, following Christ solely by intellect is futile and does not result in salvation. “… without faith it is impossible to please God.” (Hebrews 11:6)
“Stand firm,” holding to your good confession of faith and in the Lord’s work.
The Apostle emphasizes that “… your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” Those words of encouragement aren’t spoken nearly enough. If Satan can’t rattle your faith, he’ll attack your work for the Lord. Your service for Christ matters.
Often we approach Christian service like the old western gunfighters who kept notches in their guns to commemorate their victories. Few or no notches makes us feel like failures. But that’s not the way God looks at Christian service. It’s a group effort in which God gives the increase. Paul referenced this model in 1 Corinthians 3:6. “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.” That is to say, remain faithful in the Lord’s work and leave the results up to Him.
That was a hard lesson for me to learn coming out of broadcasting. In radio, we lived and died by ratings. It probably didn’t help that early in my ministry other pastors wanted to compare notes on Sunday School attendance and baptisms.
I can’t imagine any servant of Christ who hasn’t occasionally felt they had worked in vain. Adjustments may be necessary. Wise counsel may be in order. A change in the type of service could be in your best interest. Just don’t quit.
We’re not called to be superheroes; just faithful and humble servants motivated by love for the Lord. Whatever you do in His name — matters.
For more on this topic, check out this article: How to Prevent Christian Service Burnout
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 3 (July – September) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.