My Prayer for Mountain Creek in 2023
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
(1 Corinthians 15:58)
My prayer for Mountain Creek in 2023 is this verse. My prayer is that we would be steadfast, that we would be immovable, that we would be always abounding—throughout 2023 and for as long as God gives us on this earth—in the work of the Lord. And my prayer is that we would abound in that work because we have the firm conviction that in the Lord, our labor is not in vain.
BE STEADFAST AND IMMOVABLE
I pray this year that we will be steadfast and immovable in our faith and in our work for the Lord. These two terms–steadfast and immovable–are synonymous, and together they help us understand how we are to live. To be steadfast means to be firmly in place. Paul tells us elsewhere to be steadfast in the faith, and defines it as “not shifting from the hope of the gospel” (Colossians 1:23). Likewise, he instructs us here to be immovable. Together, the idea is that they would neither walk away nor be led away nor be knocked away from standing firm in Christ. We’re to be people of conviction, resolute in our commitment to Christ. It makes sense that we read this command in 1 Corinthians 15. The chapter begins with the declaration of the gospel “in which you stand.” They’re standing in it, and Paul is exhorting them to keep standing in it, no matter what comes.
That’s what I’m praying for Mountain Creek in 2023. Come what may, may we be standing firm, may we be found steadfast and immovable in Christ one year from today. May we not be captured by the desire for other things. May we not be distracted due to busyness. May we not be sidetracked by the false teaching that is so prevalent in the world. May we not be found unfaithful to the gospel. Instead, by God’s grace, may we be steadfast and immovable in Christ in 2023.
BE ALWAYS ABOUNDING IN THE WORK OF THE LORD
Paul also exhorts the church in Corinth to always be abounding in the work of the Lord. To abound means to overflow. Paul is instructing them to give themselves fully—without reservation—to the Lord’s work.
What is the Lord’s work? That phrase is a bit loaded in our day, and it can be taken to mean any number of good things, but primarily the work to which Paul is exhorting us to constantly give ourselves is the work of building up the church. We see that in the context of the book in 1 Corinthians 3:5–15, and from elsewhere in Paul’s letters in Ephesians 4.
In Ephesians 4:11–16 we read that the saints (that is, the believers in Christ in the local church, meaning, all of us!) are to be equipped for the work of ministry, which he defines in verse 12 as “building up the body of Christ” and in verse 13 as helping the whole church attain “to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” In verse 16 of that chapter Paul tells us again that this is the work to which every member in the local church is called, writing: “the whole body … when each part is working properly, makes the body grow.” It takes the whole body to make the body grow! There’s important work for all of us to do!
And so I’m praying in 2023 that every single one of us will give ourselves fully to the work of the Lord; specifically to the work of building up our local body of disciples called Mountain Creek Baptist Church. We do that through encouraging and exhorting one another (“speaking the truth in love,” according to Ephesians 4:15); we do that through praying together and studying Scripture together in our Life Groups; we do that through finding ways to serve in the body; we do that through worship; we do that through prayer; we do that through writing notes; we do that through meeting practical, physical needs for one another; we do that through changing diapers in the nursery or cleaning up after a meal or passing offering plates; we do that through pursuing our own personal holiness and helping others do likewise; we do that in a thousand other ways, as well. But I’m praying that in 2023, all of us will give ourselves without reservation to that work—the building up of the body of Christ.
YOUR LABOR IS NOT IN VAIN
And I’m praying that we’ll do all of this because we can know “that in the Lord (our) labor is not in vain.” You may work hard, you may sweat, you may shed tears, you may struggle and toil and wrestle and strain, but you need to know that your labor in Christ is never in vain. It’s always worth it, no matter how hard, how inconvenient, how thankless it seems at times; it’s always worth it.
Why is that? Because of the resurrection.
1 Corinthians 15:58 comes on the heels of Paul’s great exposition on the truth of the resurrection of the dead. He assures us in 1 Corinthians 15 that there will be a resurrection, that it will be a physical resurrection, and that in the certainty of the resurrection that we can find hope. He promises us that we’ll share in the glory of Christ (!), bearing his image just as we now bear the image of Adam, the man of dust, and he ends this chapter with the declaration of victory over death and the grave: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory, O death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
“Therefore,” he says in verse 58, therefore—so, because of the promise of life after death, because of the promise of the resurrection, because of the promise of eternity with God—you can know that any labor you give in this life will be worth it. It will be worth it.
So let us give ourselves in this next year to the work of the Lord. Let us be steadfast. Let us be immovable. And let us seek God to give us the grace to perform faithfully at that he calls us to do in the year of our Lord, 2023.
Bert Watts has served since December 2016 as the Senior Pastor at Mountain Creek Baptist Church, where he has been on staff since 2012.