Steadfast in Christ
Steadfast character is a wonderful quality that reaps many blessings, even though it is not often spoken of. The apostle James considered those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful (James 5:11). Certainly, Job suffered far more than most of us, yet his default belief always landed him back trusting the integrity of God to meet his needs. God was Job’s silent guest throughout his sufferings, and it was God who invisibly provided Job with a steadfast heart and a rock-solid hope in Christ’s future return. Job testified of Yahweh, you have granted me life and steadfast love, and your care has preserved my spirit. Yet these things you hid in your heart; I know that this was your purpose (Job 10:12-13).
Job’s steadfast attachment to God’s truth empowered a towering hope in His Redeemer. Job 19:25-27 explains; For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me! Weakened as he was from infectious boils, it was resurrection certainty of seeing Christ standing upon this earth that caused Job’s heart to quiver with hope (cf. Zechariah 14:3-4; Ezekiel 37:12-14).
James reiterates his point in the next verse saying, blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him (James 1:12). The size or nature of the trial matters not. Rather, it’s the believer’s response which James says is of significance. While trials come in all shapes and sizes; some brief, some prolonged, some mild, and others brutal, it is the Lord who enables His children to persevere. From within our trials, believers are called and equipped for stubborn faithfulness to Christ. Provision for this comes as we take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm (Ephesians 6:13).
For some, the most challenging trials arrive wrapped in success, pleasure, and comfort. Craving worldly pleasures and recognition, some abandon Christ and His church, in exchange for worldly satisfaction (cf. Mark 4:18-19). For them, they forfeit the spiritual affirmation which flows out of steadfastness. It is the Christian’s faithfulness which produces the realisation of security in Christ which strengthens the desire never to abandon the Lord. In times of ease or pain, steadfast believers stand firm, having a proven testimony of the sufficiency of Christ and His Word through all that life throws at us.
I leave you with the reassuring words of the apostle Paul from Colossians 1:21-23; and you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard… May the Lord of all grace make this true in each of our lives.
As Christmas approaches once again, I’m going to lay down my pen for a rest. I pray you all have a wonderful time celebrating the birth of Christ our Saviour and a restful New Year. Unless the Lord’s Catching Up occurs, I shall return in February 2023.