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From the Pulpit: 1 Cor. 16: 13 ‘Watch, stand fast in faith, be brave, be strong’

In St. Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians, we hear him say to the church in Corinth to “Watch, stand fast in faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love.” (1 Cor. 16:13-14)

Such simple words, yet something we have a very difficult time doing. What tends to happen is we do the complete opposite. We get anxious and impatient, we waiver in our faith when things don’t go our way. We do things, not for love or for the glory of God, but we end up doing things for our own needs, wants and advances. Too often we can think if I or this person “just has faith” everything will “work out.” And what do we mean when we say this? We usually mean that they will be healed, gain prosperity or get whatever we consider to be a “success.”

Christ did not live a life of what we would call today a “success.”

The apostles did not live a life that we would call in today’s terms, a “success.” They died, were martyred and lived very difficult lives but they received their reward in heaven. Saints and righteous people throughout history never lived easy lives but often the opposite. They lived difficult and trying lives but these trials and difficulties aided them in living holy and spiritually uplifting lives, drawing many to Christ with their love and tenderness. Just because we stand fast in faith and are strong does not mean we will get what we want, but we get what we need for our salvation. Having true faith is accepting whatever we are given as something from God that is needed for our salvation. Even the Apostle Paul had a thorn in his side that he said was to keep him from boasting. He needed that thorn to keep himself humble for his salvation.

We have such a difficult time being patient and just watching, just being present. We are so active and always have to be doing something or saying something. We are called human “beings” but how we act we should be called human “doings” since we get uncomfortable just being. Being present to the reality of ourselves and our spiritual lives. So much of our anxiety and stress stems from looking forward and worrying about things that have not even happened yet and fearing the worst.

Be present — be focused on what is in front of us in this very instance. Watch — watch for Christ in everything we do and in the world. Don’t worry about who will be president, what will I do tonight, or what I will eat tomorrow or this or that. These things worry us and they have not even happened yet and we jump to the worst conclusions.

We have so much technology in today’s world, yet we have less time than ever before. We busy ourselves with mundane things. Less than 100 years ago our parents, grandparents and even great grandparents had much less than we do now yet they had more time on their hands than we do. We have so much to make our lives convenient but yet we have less time to dedicate to God than ever before. We continue to add things into our lives and become so overwhelmed that we become anxious and nervous and lose focus on Christ and what our true goal in life is, which is to attain salvation found only in Christ. We need to learn to be present in every act we do. We need to learn to just be! Be present, be attentive, and be loving, and everything we do should be done for the glory of God, who is due all honor and worship together with his only-begotten Son, and his most holy, good and life-giving spirit. Amen.

(From the Pulpit is a weekly sermon provided by the clergy members of the Weirton Ministerial Association)

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