The Christian’s life will be full of challenges and obstacles to living in a way that is pleasing to God. However, God has only promised to reward those who are faithful to Him throughout their lives. In Revelation 2:10, Jesus urged those who were Christians in Smyrna and were about to experience persecution to be “faithful until death,” promising to give them the “crown of life” if they would be. Therefore, they needed to be steadfast – just as we must be steadfast.
What It Means To Be Steadfast
To be steadfast is to be firm in your convictions and loyal (faithful) to a particular cause. It is to be firmly fixed in a particular belief or way of living so that you will not be moved or shaken by the various issues that arise in your life. For the Christian, therefore, to be steadfast is to be entirely firm in the conviction to trust and obey the Lord in all things – and not to be shaken in that conviction by any of the issues of life. Consider a couple of passages that demonstrate steadfastness.
1 Corinthians 15:58 says, “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.” Since there is victory in Jesus Christ (verse 57), you must determine to be steadfast, immovable, and always be abounding in the Lord’s work – as you recognize that God has promised to reward those who are faithful to Him.
Colossians 1:23 says, “if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.” The larger context of this passage indicates the wonderful opportunity Christ has given you to be reconciled to Him and be presented holy and blameless in His sight. However, in order for you to be considered this way by the Lord, you must continue to be grounded and steadfast in the faith – not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you have heard. So, there must be a firm conviction to continue in the ways prescribed by the Lord in His gospel.
Be Steadfast Through…
The need to be firm in your convictions and faithful to the Lord’s cause always implies that there will be circumstances that happen throughout your life that will attempt to pull you away from being true to God. Consider three specific things you will need to steadfastly endure.
(1) Trials. Your faith is going to be tested. Perhaps it will be through sickness. Perhaps it will be through the death of loved ones. Perhaps it will be through financial difficulty. It may be through any number of things. However, God promises that if you are steadfast through these trials, you will be made stronger (see Romans 5:3-4; James 1:2-4)!
(2) Temptations. In addition to the things which try your faith, you must realize that you have an enemy in the devil who is trying to lure you away from being faithful to God through many different means. He is tempting you to fulfill your own desires in ways that do not please God (James 1:14-15). However, God promises that if you resist the devil, he will flee from you (James 4:7)!
(3) Persecutions. The Bible also promises that Christians will experience persecutions (see 2 Timothy 3:12). Persecutions are means through which the devil will try to make it difficult for you to live for the Lord by applying pressure and providing consequences for your decision to live for the Lord. However, Jesus promises a crown of life to those who are steadfast through these persecutions (Revelation 2:10)!
Why Be Steadfast?
Being steadfast will never be easy. It will be easier to give in and be overcome by the things we have just identified. However, there are some definite reasons why you must be steadfast.
(1) It is possible to fall from God’s grace. Recall how Colossians 1:21-23 demonstrated that you can be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ and be presented holy and blameless in God’s sight if you “continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard.” The implication is that if you do not remain steadfast and are moved away from the gospel which you heard, you will not be reconciled to God or be presented as holy and blameless. Other passages also make it perfectly clear that it is possible for you (even though you have once been saved by God’s grace) to fall away from the grace of God and be eternally condemned (see Galatians 5:4 and Hebrews 10:26-39). Remember, Jesus promises the crown of life to those who are faithful to Him through the point of their earthly deaths (Revelation 2:10).
(2) You will reap what you sow. Galatians 6:7-9 says, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” There are two elements to this assurance about sowing and reaping you need to consider. First, you will reap eternal punishment in Hell if you are not steadfast and allow other things to move you away from following the Lord. Second, you will reap eternal life in Heaven if you do not lose heart and are steadfast in serving God.
How To Be Steadfast
With so many things trying to pull you away from serving the Lord, you may even wonder how you can possibly be steadfast in serving the Lord. Consider two things briefly.
(1) Put on the whole armor of God. God has given you the protection you need in order to serve Him faithfully – and be protected against the tactics of the devil to lure you away from following the Lord. Ephesians 6:10-18 identifies truth, righteousness, the preparation of the gospel of peace, faith, salvation, the word of God, and prayer as things God has provided so that you can be victorious in the war for your soul. Put on each one of these so that you can be steadfast!
(2) Use your anchor. There are many storms of life (i.e. trials, temptations, and persecutions). You need some way to anchor your life so that you do not drift wherever the ebbs and flows of life lead you. Fortunately, God has provided you the anchor of hope that is both “sure and steadfast” (Hebrews 6:19). If you hold to the hope of salvation God has promised, you can endure all the issues of life (consider 2 Timothy 1:12 and 2 Corinthians 4:16-18)!
You can steadfastly endure all of the trials, temptations, and persecutions of this life! You can be steadfast, immovable, and always abound in the work of the Lord – when you recognize that your labor is not in vain in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58)!