Jesus said: ‘God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are My followers. Be happy about it!… For a great reward awaits you in Heaven.’ (Matthew 5:11–12 NLT) If you’re thin-skinned you’ll always be an easy target. Endurance, not popularity, is the secret to long-term success. Paul endured desertion by his friends, ugly letters from the Corinthians, disappointment with the Galatians, mistreatment in Philippi, mocking in Athens, and execution in Rome.
He writes, ‘Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.’ (1 Corinthians 16:13 NASB) Let’s break this verse down:
(1) Be on the alert. The devil is out to get you. What’s he after? Your value to God’s Kingdom. Your life is a seed capable of producing a harvest for God in the earth, so protect yourself.
(2) Stand firm in the faith. You can’t stand on your circumstances or other people’s opinions, because those things constantly change. You can stand only on the Word of God.
(3) Act like men. Immaturity will hurt you when the attack comes. The Bible says you must leave ‘the elementary… press on to maturity.’ (Hebrews 6:1 NASB) If you’re still making the same mistakes twenty-five years later, you’re not learning enough.
(4) Be strong. Weakness is an invitation to the enemy. It always precedes surrender, and quitting isn’t an option. God told His people that the Promised Land was theirs, but they had to fight for it. And only those who were willing to fight got to enter it. The same goes for you.