Paul’s Simple Formula For Christian Life

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In the final chapter of Paul's beautiful first letter to the Corinthians, Paul gives these final words to that community. “Be alert, stand firm in the faith, be brave, be strong. Do all your work in love.” 1 Cor. 16:13-14 In these simple words we have the formula for the Christian life.

Be alert: Be alert interiorly for the whisperings of the Holy Spirit admonishing us, encouraging us, and giving us the words we need in each situation. And be alert exteriorly, to the needs of those around us.
Stand firm in the faith: Pray always, study, trust in the faith you have been given. Know that you are called by God to show this faith with your deeds even more than your words. Trust in its promises. Believe that everything depends on this faith. God is with us and will never abandon us.

Be brave: This is the virtue that every Christian needs to develop as a habit in all things. We need courage because the Evil One will try everything to tear us away from Christ. He will try to tempt us interiorly with doubts and fears, and exteriorly, through the intimidation and callous cynicism of those who have accepted the spirit of the present age.

Be strong: Our strength will come from our faith. It will give us the intellectual and emotional strength to meet the challenges that the secular world can through up before us. It will give us the strength to respond to the needs of our suffering brothers and sisters.

Do all your work in love: We are followers of the One who is Love unconditional. A Christian is a person whose whole being is infused with the love of God. This love makes us alert to the hunger for God in others. This love is what makes us firm in faith. This is love is what makes us brave and strong enough to love even our enemies. This is the love that suffuses all the work a Christian does. This is the love that will bring others to God.

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site blog.