Begin Again - Part 1
December 28, 2009 • By Ed Wrather
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable (…stand firm. Let nothing move you. - NIV), always abounding (Always give yourselves fully - NIV) in the work of the Lord, knowing (because you know - NIV) that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. - 1 Corinthians 15:58 NKJV.
Life is made up of beginnings and endings and more beginnings. Winter ends and spring begins. Spring ends and summer begins. Summer ends and winter begins. We are ending one year and starting a new year with the challenges of the past year behind and the challenges of a new year ahead. We end childhood and begin young adulthood. We end being young adults and enter middle age. We end middle age and become senior adults. We are born, we live, we die, and then if we know Jesus as our Savior, we live again.
I have found that the older I become the harder it is to begin again, the harder it is to move forward and not to stop. The older I am, the harder it is to try something new. The older I am, the easier it is to do nothing. The older I am, the easier it is to think I have done enough. The older I am, the easier it is to plan for dying instead of for living. The older I am, the harder it is to continue with life when bad things happen - to begin again.
How do you begin again, how do you move forward with life, how do you really live as long as you are living? This verse in 1 Corinthians 15:58 does give us some direction as to how to do that. The first instruction that the apostle Paul gives us about how to begin again, how to live is this: “…stand firm. Let nothing move you….” He is saying that we should let nothing in this world deter us, keep us from living the abundant life that Jesus came to give us (John 10:10b). We should let no bad thing, no evil thing, not even a good thing keep us from living our lives for the Lord.
For the early Christians, there were some obstacles to living the Christian life, especially in Corinth. Corinth was an evil place, a wicked place. If you were a Christian in Corinth you could count on feeling out of place, out of step with most of the people who lived there. If you were a Christian in Corinth you could count on encountering persecution in one form or another. Paul was telling them don't let that stop you from living like you should “…stand firm. Let nothing move you….”
Paul from the context of this verse, the preceding verses, was also talking about the discouragement caused by death. The discouragement caused by knowing that we all will someday die a physical death and the discouragement that comes from the deaths of those that we love. The fact of death looming ahead of us is something that we all have to deal with. Both of my parents passed away in 2007 and there is something about your parents no longer being alive that changes your perspective - it makes you more aware of your own mortality. This year there have been so many that I know who are around my age who have passed away. Last Monday one more of my high school classmates passed away. It makes you wonder sometimes if you are next. We have seen so many of our young people in this area who have died at an early age, and it is particularly hard when you are close to them.
What is it that Paul would say to me? What is it that Paul would say to you? “…stand firm. Let nothing move you….” Not even death. “…stand firm. Let nothing move you….”