“When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

‘Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?’

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

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.”
1 Corinthians 15:54-58

The apostle Paul wrote these passionate words in a letter to a church he founded in Corinth, Greece.  I can imagine the pleading of his heart as he wrote to encourage them to not be lured back into the materialistic and immoral world that churned around them.

He reminded them, and us, that this life is not all there is.  There is a resurrection, Christ being the first, and because of Him, we will follow.

We no longer belong to this world, and our victory is not here.  Our victory has already been won through Christ – the gift of our immortal souls and our resurrection to the next life with Jesus Christ, our Great Reward.

There is no shortage of attention-grabbers whether it’s social media, or the news, or just the busyness of our own lives.  They can suck us in, altering our perspectives from spiritual matters to earthly ones, and rob us of doing the work for which we’ve now been called.

Not much has changed in the 2000 years since Paul wrote to our brothers and sisters in Christ.

All of us who have put our faith in Christ know how difficult it can be to keep our hearts and minds focused on the Lord, especially when the world revels in sin all around us.

After all, sin looks fun, and we can feel like we’re missing out on something.  Well, we are, but nothing good.  We miss out on the consequences of those sins; we miss out on feeding our flesh but not our spirits; we miss out on a life of fruitlessness.  We miss out on leaving our faith behind.

But Paul reminds us there is so much more given to us in its place.

We have a real Christ-given hope that when our bodies die, our immortal souls will live on for eternity in the joy and peace of the presence of God.

While, tragically, those who lived for the temporary thrills of this short life will abandon all joy and peace when their mortal bodies die, and their souls will be given over to judgment and eternal death.

While we who have put our faith in Christ may have to give up a few things here, we already have the ultimate victory through the Lord Jesus Christ.

So, what do we do?  We get back to work.  We let go of the distractions of this world and stand firm in the faith, being about our Father’s business and fulfilling the calling given to each of us just as our brothers and sisters in Corinth did almost 2000 years ago.

“Let nothing move you.”

Nothing.  Don’t look to the left or to the right at what others are doing.  Don’t worry what others may say about your faith in God.  Don’t worry about what can be done to you, even if it means your earthly life, because we already have the victory.

Look to Christ and “give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord.”

The text in the Greek puts it like this: “always abounding in the work of the Lord.”  

Abounding is the Greek word perisseuō which means “to superabound, be in excess, be superfluous; to excel, abundance, be the better, enough and to spare, exceed, excel, increase, be left, redound, remain (over and above).”

If there’s anything we should strive to do with excellence, it’s our work in the Lord.

He’s not only given us life, but He’s give us an abundant afterlife.  He sees our labor in His name, and He will reward us with eternal treasures worth far more than the trinkets of this life.

 

Heavenly Father, please help us keep our minds focused on you and not get sidetracked by the world or even by fear. Help us serve you with all our hearts, with the excellence that you deserve, that through our lives the world may see your love and grace and you may be glorified in the salvation of many. Thank you for the victory you’ve given us by clothing us with immortality and preparing a home for us in heaven with you. We praise your glorious Name, Jesus, and pray it all in your Name, amen.