“Be men of courage; be strong”.

1 Cor 16:13 NIV

People who do not profess any kind of faith often assume that those who do are weak people who use their faith “as a crutch”. It is a wrong assumption. The vast majority of Christian believers derive strength from their faith and some show extraordinary strength.

“There is great strength in those who trust God. Knowing the presence of One who is utterly faithful and wise and loving gives a confidence which is undeniable. Such a spirit was displayed by Mildred Cable and Evangeline and Francesca French when they became missionaries in China. Having built up a flourishing work in Shansi province, they were made to move on and decided to continue their endeavours in the extreme north-west of the country, the ‘City of Criminals’. From there they made repeated evangelistic journeys through Central Asia, preaching and distributing Scripture. When it was time to return to England, they chose to travel overland, a long and difficult journey, deliberately going through regions where the gospel had never been heard. What was it that sustained and empowered those three brave women? They knew the secret of not relying on themselves but trusting in the Almighty. “In him they found protection, guidance and grace for every circumstance” (Soldier’s Armoury 1977, p 80).

Paul knew that with the many temptations, determined opposition and internal problems in the body of Christ, the Corinthian Christians would need to be strong indeed. Christians today have an equal need to be strong and courageous. Secular derision and contempt for faith of any kind is widespread. Moral lapses on the part of church leaders is well publicised and invites severe criticism. It destroys Christian credibility. Courage and strength are indispensable for effective witness today.

Lord, give me strength to endure in my faith.