1 Corinthians 16:13-14 is a passage that’s always intrigued me. If ever there was a passage designed specifically for guys, this would have to be it.
“Be watchful. Stand firm in the faith. Act like men. Be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.”
What more could a guy ask for? Two verses. Straight to the point. Five very short, direct commands.
Recently, I had been digging into the passage, trying to plumb the depth of truth in those two verses in the original language. I thought it would be quick, but there’s so much there, I ended up having to put it aside for when I had more uninterrupted study time.
Before I could get back to it, wouldn’t you know it, FamilyLife Today had a radio broadcast on that very passage. If you’ve ever seen the Stepping Up video series, you may remember James MacDonald giving a quick, to-the-point, teaching session on this passage. If you haven’t seen it, here it is.
On the FamilyLife Today broadcast, however, he dives deeper as he talks to a group of men at his home church in Chicago, Harvest Bible Chapel. I’ve excerpted a few pieces here to whet your appetite so you’ll listen to both days of the broadcast.
We have to act like men, and the first part of that is to “be watchful.” It’s the idea of—in old times, there were these ancient cities that were surrounded by walls. The men had the responsibility to keep the barbarians out. In the fortified city, the people (in this instance: your wife, your children, your family) could only rest because they knew that the watchman was awake and was on the wall.
It’s time for us to quit being so passive, and step up—as we’re being challenged today—and do something! God help us to be watchful over our homes!
Act like a man! Hang up the phone, get off the couch, shut off your computers, stop tinkering in the garage; and act like a man! Your son needs you / your daughter needs you. So be watchful.
Then, this—it means: “Be strong.” Actually, the Greek here is a passive voice, which means, actually—this is very instructive—it means: “Be strengthened.” This is not an exhortation to be the world’s strongest man: “How much can you bench press? How big are your biceps and your shoulders?” This is not an exhortation to be macho; alright? This means: “Be strengthened in your inner man/ in your soul,”—listen—“in your character, in your integrity, in your fidelity to the truth.”
Of course, in Scripture, Christ is our strength. This isn’t an exhortation to try harder. Do you hear me? This is not an exhortation to try harder! “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. [Philippians 4:13]” Jesus Christ is the strength to live the Christian life! It’s not like He stands over there—“Thank You for saving me. Now watch me go live an awesome life for You,”—alright? “As you received the Lord, so walk in Him…[Colossians 2:6]” Christ is the way to salvation / Christ is the strength to live the Christian life.
So “Act like men,” means be strengthened. Keep that relationship strong. The best way I know to be strong is to admit your weakness. Admit your weakness. Paul said, “When I am weak, then I am strong.” [2 Corinthians 12:10]
Check out the rest of the two-day broadcast on this passage. Then go out and
Act like men.
© 2015 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved.
To go even deeper, read James MacDonald’s book, Act Like Men: 40 Days to Biblical Manhood.
Get with a group of other men to go through the 10-week video study, Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood.