Steadfast

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not [in] vain in the Lord.”  1 Corinthians 15:58 [NASB]

The month of December has been so very challenging for this weary heart.  The rawness that accompanies Sarah’s birthday and the Christmas season has provided ample opportunity for heartache and despair.  On more than one occasion I have tearfully questioned if I can or will persevere.

In the midst of my pain and discouragement the Lord has repeatedly drawn my eye to the word “steadfast” in scripture.  Merriam Webster defines steadfast as follows:

Definition of steadfast 

1: a: firmly fixed in place : IMMOVABLE
b: not subject to change

2: firm in belief, determination, or adherence

Called to Steadfastness

We are repeatedly implored in scripture to be steadfast.  King David cried out to God longing for steadfastness:

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.”  Psalm 51:10 [NASB]

The prophet Isaiah, through the inspiration of God, wrote that it is through steadfastness of mind that God will keep us in perfect peace:

“The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You.”  Isaiah 26:3 [NASB]

The Apostle Paul, also inspired by God in his letter to the Corinthians, implored “all who in every place call upon the name of our Lord” to be steadfast:

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not [in] vain in the Lord.”  1 Corinthians 15:58 [NASB]

The Apostle Paul, again, in his letter to the Colossians exhorted the saints to remain steadfast:

” if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.” Colossians 1:23 [NASB]

The Foundation of our Steadfastness

As I meditated on each of the passages and their context I was suddenly struck by the foundation of steadfastness in each passage.  Each reference connects our steadfastness to the hope of eternity found in salvation through Jesus Christ.

When David cried out to God to cleanse him from all unrighteousness, to create a pure heart and renew a steadfast spirit within him, he immediately followed by connecting that steadfastness to abiding in the presence of God and the joy of salvation:

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit.”  Psalm 51:10-12 [NASB]

Isaiah’s proclamation, “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You,” is within the context of, and directly linked to the hope of eternity promised to the children of God:

“The LORD of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain; A banquet of aged wine, choice pieces with marrow, [And] refined, aged wine.  And on this mountain He will swallow up the covering which is over all peoples, Even the veil which is stretched over all nations.  He will swallow up death for all time, And the Lord GOD will wipe tears away from all faces, And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth; For the LORD has spoken.  And it will be said in that day, ‘Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us. This is the LORD for whom we have waited; Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.'” Isaiah 25:6-9 [NASB]

“In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: ‘We have a strong city; He sets up walls and ramparts for security.  Open the gates, that the righteous nation may enter, The one that remains faithful.’ The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:1-3 [NASB]

Paul’s exhortation in Corinthians to “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord,” is the concluding exhortation to an entire chapter devoted to a precise explanation of the gospel and a bold defense of the hope of the resurrection:

“in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.  For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.  But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “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, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not [in] vain in the Lord.”  1 Corinthians 15:52-58 [NASB]

In his letter to the Colossians, the Apostle Paul once again connects our steadfastness to the hope of eternity through Christ’s reconciliation of all things to Himself.  Paul challenges the Colossians and us to persevere in steadfastness compelled by the desire to be presented before Him, holy and blameless and beyond reproach:

“And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, [engaged] in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach–  if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.”  Colossians 1:21-23 [NASB]

The Source of our Steadfastness

We are clearly called to be steadfast, and the foundation of our steadfastness is clearly linked to the sure and certain hope of eternity, but where does the strength required for steadfastness come from? Praise God that we are not told to simply “muster it up” or to “pull ourselves up by our bootstraps.”  Just as God graciously reveals the foundation of our steadfastness he also graciously reveals its source.

King David knew it was through God’s power alone that he could and would be strengthened to be steadfast.  He acknowledged this when he requested of God not only a steadfast spirit but a willing spirit as well:

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit.”  Psalm 51:10-12 [NASB]

Isaiah also points to the power of God in sustaining steadfastness.  According to Isaiah, as we trust in God, He will keep us in perfect peace.  Through His perfect peace we are kept, strengthened and enabled to persevere in steadfastness:

“The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You.”  Isaiah 26:3 [NASB]

Finally, in his prayer for the Colossians, the apostle Paul boldly proclaims the source of our steadfastness:

“For this reason also, since the day we heard [of it,] we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be…  strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience…”  Colossians 1:9a, 11 [NASB]

I am so very thankful that scripture makes it clear the foundation of our steadfastness is the promise of the resurrection and the glorious hope of eternity.  This earth holds no goal or reward worthy of persevering through all our present and future pain and suffering, but heaven does.  Not only is the hope of eternity He provided the foundation of our steadfastness, but He Himself will also strengthen us “with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience.” 

Entirely by Him and through Him, we can be strengthened to remain “steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that [our] toil is not in vain in the Lord.”  By Him we can “joyously give thanks,” and be kept “in perfect peace.”  One glorious day, “in just a little while” we will boldly proclaim with all the saints, ““DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory.  “O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?”  

Praise God, Hallelujah, in that glorious day He will swallow up death for all time, And the Lord GOD will wipe tears away from all faces, And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth; For the LORD has spoken.  And it will be said in that day, ‘Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us. This is the LORD for whom we have waited; Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.”

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4 thoughts on “Steadfast

  1. I long for the days of fulfillment of eternity with the lord. All my suffering would end. No more tears, no more pain, no more suffering. Until then, I must endure. In the death of my daughter, the only thing possibly to learn is that God is God. Who am I to question him. Hugs.

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