This is the second message, the training on character, that I gave for the leadership conference in Jzone Payatas. It’s not the exact message, but I condensed it to include only the important matters.
58Therefore, my dear brothers, 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. (1 Corinthians 15:58, NIV 1984)
At the start of the verse, we encounter the word “therefore”. Whenever we encounter this word, we must consider the verses before.
Let’s consider the whole chapter. First Corinthians 15 talks about the resurrection and confirms that it is true. Verses 3-4 say:
3For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. (Emphasis added)
The resurrection is true and needs to be true. Verse 19 says:
19If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.
In other words, the apostle Paul is saying that we–Christians–are the most pitiable people in the world, for we have been deceived to believe in a lie.
But thankfully, the resurrection is true. Because it is true, nothing we do is in vain (v.58). And because it is true, therefore…Verse 58 enters the scene. So let’s continue examining the verse.
The words “stand firm” is translated “steadfast” (hedraios) in other translations (ESV, NASB, NKJV). The word is an adjective which means sitting.
When you are sitting, you are fixed in one place (to where you are seated), firm and solid. You now might have an idea, but I’m going to discuss its implications later. Let’s go to the next set of words.
Let Nothing Move You
In other translations, the phrase is reduced to the word “immovable”. I think the word is simple enough to understand.
But why are we exhorted to stand firm and let nothing move us, to be steadfast and immovable? It is because as long as we’re alive, we will face temptations, distractions, and discouragements. We will even be tempted to make compromises. But we have to steadfast and immovable, focused, purpose-driven, and uncompromising in our lives and service to the Lord.
It’s best that we ask ourselves the following questions: Are there any compromises in our lives right now? What are some situations that seem to be shaking us?
Always Give Yourselves Fully
In all the time must we hold on to our faith and service to the Lord. We must not depend on feelings (which are so unpredictable), meaning, we must worship and serve the Lord whether we feel loving, worshiping, obeying, and serving Him or not.
“Yourselves” includes our time, skills, and effort. “Fully” means that we give out only what is excellent. Consider the following verses:
31So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31, emphasis added)
23Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. (Colossians 3:23, NIV 1984, emphasis added)
Work of the Lord
We must acknowledge that this is not our work, but the Lord’s. It should serve as a reminder that serving Him is a privilege, and this is by His grace. So let’s ask ourselves: Do we see our service to the Lord as a privilege? Have we thanked Him for making us a part of His work? And are we giving ourselves fully to His work?
Your Labor in the Lord is Not in Vain
The word “labor” means toiling and working to the point of exhaustion, fatigue, and collapse. This is not to mean that there’s no room for rest and leisure. It just means that while there is an opportunity, let’s do it! In fact, the verse tells us to overdo it.
But why overdo it? It’s because our “labor in the Lord is not in vain.” It will be worth it. While there are times that we will not see the fruit of our labor right away, it will eventually do. And even if we are not to see it in our lifetimes, we will someday hear from the mouth of Jesus the words “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:23). And personally, as a servant of the Lord who has experienced (and will continue to experience) the difficulties of life and ministry, I can’t wait to hear those words! Our standing firm and being immovable is not in vain!
Are you excited to hear it as well?