“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” I Corinthians 15:58
I think many people feel these are sad, heavy days. The mood is tense and anxious as people can’t predict how long these changes will last. They fear so many things that they have no control over. Some are coming to realize this for perhaps the first time; they have no control over invisible viruses, jobs, school, government, etc. But as believers, we have known this from the moment of salvation when we admit our great need for a savior, protector, shepherd, and friend. God holds our days and only He knows our future.
Or at least we should know this. But the more I listen to the people around me and read social media posts and comments from believers, the more I wonder how sure many are that God is in control. Our words and actions speak to what we believe. Ephesians 5:22 makes it clear that whining, anxiety, anger, discontent, and hopelessness are not fruits of the Spirit.
As I was reading through I Corinthians 15, I could feel Paul urgently trying to remind the believers that what he had taught about the resurrection was true. Many had been led away by false teachings, and according to verse 12, had stopped believing in the resurrection of the dead; that our bodies would be resurrected as well as our souls when He returns. He has promised that our bodies are incorruptible and will be transformed into new, heavenly bodies.
At the end of Paul’s case for the resurrection, he writes:
“For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through or Lord Jesus Christ. So my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always abounding in the work of the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is in vain.” I Cor. 15:56-58
These are powerful verses! The resurrection of Christ ensures our own resurrection; our bodily resurrection at the time of His return, but also a resurrected spirit, mind, soul, and heart right now! Jesus gives us victory over sin and death. And because of this, we can be strong, immovable, and always abounding. Nothing we do for the Lord is wasted.
Nothing. This means all the things that we find trivial and mundane in the daily rhythms of life are to a Christian an act of worship. It means the tensions that you face are opportunities to have victory over sin. To show that Christ can be honored in it all. And to live abundantly as people not willing to budge or fall away in our trials and suffering. Nothing is wasted. Nothing. Diapers, routine labor, taking out the trash, fixing another meal…I Corinthians 15:58 says that none of it is in vain.
So how does this apply to our current “bad days”? How can we avoid letting our thinking rule our actions and lies from overpowering truth?
First of all, Jesus was well aware of what a bad day entailed. He agonized in the garden asking the Father to remove the bitter cup from Him. He knew how brutal the cross was and no human would desire to endure it. And yet He humbled himself, poured his fear and anxiety out on God, and then walked right into the hands of those who would torture and mock Him. So we know God can relate to us when we have a bad day…though in comparison, what most of us face will never compare to this kind of tragedy. But rest assured that He understands and cares. He is listening and has sent the Comforter to help us in our sufferings. We can boldly yet humbly enter His presence and be free to express our sorrow over any situations.
Because of the resurrection, we can also face trials with the same confidence. And it would be so refreshing to see people rising to meet this current situation in this Christ-centered confidence. We can be the steadfast, immovable, always abounding people of God that this verse inspires us to be: those who can express their frustrations to God over the hardships we are living through and yet rise up with confidence that God is victorious in all things. Those who can be praying for relief while also praising Him in the storm. Because tension reveals where two things collide, but sometimes it also reveals where two truths converge. Jesus can be both loving and just, God and man, and weary and hopeful all at the same time. I believe He gives us the power to live the same.
Wouldn’t it be awesome to see moms and dads become warriors for the minds and hearts of their children during this unprecedented time we have been given? Those who find strength to parent in patience and immovable fortitude, with an unwavering resolve to grow and learn through it instead of whining and complaining until they see the end they desire? We are more than conquerors and sin is defeated in our lives. We can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. We can abound…not just survive even in harsher conditions than this. History supports this. We should share some stories of people who persevered with joy through some of the world’s darkest days. This reminds us and helps our kids see themselves as part of a bigger, grander story where God is the author that leads us to unimaginable victory over every scenario we can live through. If the resurrection is true, then nothing but victory is ours! And instead of retreating, we can, even in this, be steadfast, unmovable, and always abounding. Will you choose it today?