On the wall in our family room hangs an embroidered version of 1 Corinthians 15:58: “Your labor for the Lord is not in vain.” It was a gift from a dear friend during the years we served as Christian teachers in Vietnam, so it means a lot to us! Today’s verse is a reminder that we don’t know the results of our efforts for the Lord, but in faith we can trust that obedience is never in vain. In other words, there is no real failure, properly understood, when the Lord is on our side. Our labor for Him will never come up empty.
The single most powerful evidence in support of this claim is Christ’s Resurrection, and by extension, the certain hope of our own resurrection. We who were perishable and mortal—and thus unfit to inherit the kingdom of God (v. 50)—will become imperishable and immortal! How? It will happen instantaneously, “in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye” (v. 52). When? “At the last trumpet,” that is, when Christ returns. Our “common destiny” (see June 1) and the just penalty for our sin—death—has been conquered by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. His victory shout is a triumphant taunt: “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (v. 55).
How should we respond? First, Christ’s success means we’re to “stand firm. Let nothing move you” (v. 58). Second, we’re to be fully committed to the Lord’s work. There’s no such thing as halfhearted discipleship (Luke 14:25–33; Rev. 3:15–16). Biblically, then, to fail means not to stand firm or not to be fully committed to the Lord’s work—that is, not to walk by faith.
>> Keeping God’s promises front and center in our lives can help us keep a biblical view of success and failure. Consider memorizing one of this month’s key verses. Or, choose a special verse to prominently display in your home or office to keep your focus on God.