Steadfast in the Faith
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:58
The Lord calls each one of us to be steadfast in the faith. Our walk with the Lord should be consistent and not "up and down", reflecting continual progress in the "upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:14 NKJV). This principle applies to every Christian. Nowhere in the Bible do we find a particular standard for some Christians and another for all the rest. All true believers are destined to be conformed to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29) and thus have a present responsibility to cooperate in this work and yield to Him. Some may be inclined to think that with all the negative influences surrounding us that it is far too difficult to consistently live for the Lord. But the Scriptures hold before us people and promises to counter this erroneous mindset and to challenge us to be steadfast in the faith.
Enoch was a believer who despite his surroundings was steadfast in the faith. We read that he "walked with God" (Gen. 5:24) and had the testimony that he "pleased God" (Heb. 11:5) even though he lived at a time when the wicked line of Cain was perhaps at it's strongest. The account of his life is brief but convincing, especially since nothing negative is recorded about him. Subsequently, he has a place in God's hall of fame as a hero of the faith. (Heb. 11) How nice it would be if each believer had the same testimony as Enoch - one who consistently walked with God.
Likewise, Joseph proved that it is possible to maintain a steadfast testimony for the Lord even when he could have easily succumbed to temptation. When tempted in his moral life by Potiphar's wife, he steadfastly honored the Lord and maintained his spotless testimony. He could have allowed a bitter spirit from the unjust way his brethren treated him to weaken his resistance to temptation. He could have easily capitulated to the advances of Potiphar's wife especially since there was no one around to hold him accountable. But instead he was steadfast in the faith and maintained his convictions though he was falsely accused and cast into prison. Eventually, God vindicated His servant and exalted Joseph in due time proving once again that the Lord honors them that honor Him. (1 Sam. 2:30) What an example his life is to us in a day in which iniquity abounds on every side both in public and in private clearly demonstrating that a believer can overcome adverse circumstances to the glory of God.
Daniel also steadfastly honored the Lord in his life, a third example of a person in the Bible who had nothing negatively recorded about his personal life. Consistent in his convictions as well as his prayer life, he was promoted within the Babylonian administration. But when it looked like he might fall out of favor with the current regime because of the very qualities that got him there, he did not waver or compromise at all. He also was steadfast in his faith and that in a very difficult place - the political world. He reminds us of the need for steadfastness in the workplace where detractors can vilify our personal motives and reputation and when doing the right thing might cost us dearly. Our testimony needs to shine brightly for Him all the time -- even as the Lord Jesus reminded us to not hide our lamp under the bed (in the midst of our leisure) or under a bushel (in the midst of our labor). We are to follow the example of the Lord who was the highest example of consistency, setting His face as a flint (Isa. 50:7) as He steadfastly headed to Jerusalem (Luke 9:51) -- and to the Cross.
The NT also contains many examples and exhortations to be steadfast in the faith. In speaking to His disciples in the parable of the pounds, (Luke 19:12ff) the Lord gave the very clear indication that they should be diligent in our service for Christ. Through this parable, He reminds us that He is on a "long journey" and will return at a later date to receive His kingdom. He charges us to be diligent in utilizing the treasure - the Gospel -- that He has been entrusted to us. Unlike the Parable of the Talents, (Matt. 25), this parable teaches that reward is commensurate with the effort expended for the Lord since each one was given equal amounts but achieved different results. Later, as the parable signifies, He will assess the activity of His servants and reward accordingly. The quantity of our reward reflects how steadfast we were in the service of our Master, a sobering reminder that the Lord is looking for diligence in the day of salvation.
The early disciples were commended because they "continued steadfastly in the apostle's doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers." (Acts 2:42) Are we following in their train and in the pattern that God established for the Church through their dedicated lives? The Apostle Paul likewise commended the Colossian believers for their steadfastness in Christ (Col. 2:5) but also urged these same believers to continue in the faith and to be grounded and steadfast in the Gospel so that they would not be moved away from the hope of the Gospel. (Col. 1:23) Obviously, the Apostle felt he needed to remind them of this even though it characterized their testimony. Unfortunately, many Christians who at one time were seemingly grounded and steadfast drifted from the things of the Lord because they loosened their spiritual moorings and let the things that they heard slip out of their grasp. (Heb. 2:1) They were not steadfast in the faith even though they knew better - a discipline that requires a regular commitment to prayer, Bible study and fellowship with other believers.
Paul also exhorted the believers in Rome to continue steadfastly in prayer (Rom. 12:12) an arduous task if we really mean business with God. Peter reminded those he wrote to, to resist the devil, being steadfast in the faith. (1 Peter 5:9) knowing that the enemy of our souls will seek every advantage to mar our testimony if we slack off. A lack of steadfastness will give him the very handle that he is looking for. Peter later warned them (and us!) to be careful and not fall from our own steadfastness being led away by the error of the wicked. (2 Peter 3:17). It is easy to allow the "things" of life to interfere and compete with our single-mindedness for Christ. We need to be like Eleazar, one of David's mighty men whose hand stuck to the sword until the Lord wrought a great victory. (2 Sam. 23:9-10). Perhaps, we need more of a "stick to-it" attitude in many areas of our Christian life.
Every Christian is called upon to manifest a life of consistency and steadfastness in the things of the Lord. No doubt, there may be times when that consistency will fluctuate. No Christian is perfect. But thankfully we belong to the One whose "mercy endures forever" who can "restore the years that the locust hath eaten" (Joel 2:25). The knowledge of this however does not excuse us from aiming for the worthy goal of a steadfast testimony for the Lord. The joys and rewards of such a life are worth the effort, both in this life and the life that is to come.