My pastor likes to you the term â€œstickability.â€ Itâ€™s a clever term for steadfastness. The Random House Dictionary defines steadfastness as â€œfixed in direction; steadily directed; firm in purpose, resolution, faith, attachment; unwavering; firmly established. If you say someone is steady it means that is a person on which you can be depend. When it comes to our faith being steady, it means we do not veer to the left or the right but we remain on the straight and narrow. Easier said than done!
So how do we remain steadfast? How do we attain â€œstickabilityâ€? Consider it a target and like any target you have to aim at it. Paul encouraged the Philippian church to aim for the target of steadfastness:
â€œOnly let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God.â€ (Philippians 1:27-28)
Paul was always concerned about the conduct of the church. Would to God that more pastors today have the same concern! Paul warned Timothy of this because of his youth:
â€œLet no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.â€ (1 Timothy 4:12)
Paul knew that because of Timothyâ€™s youth some may look for any reason to usurp his authority so Paul warns his spiritual son to watch what he said and how he acted so that he could be an example for his followers. A young pastor starting out isnâ€™t going to be the best preacher youâ€™ve ever heard but he can still be an example to his flock.
Steadfastness is important for any Christian; it comes down to consistency. My buddy Steve Deace, who does a nationally syndicated radio show out of Iowa, always asks this about potential candidates; does the person have convictions and not just positions? As Christians, are we living consistent lives? Paul, teaching the Thessalonian church about brotherly and orderly life, urged them…
â€œ… that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.â€ (1 Thessalonians 4:12)
Paul says we are to be â€œstriving together for the faith of the gospel.â€ We are to aim our sights on Jesus Christ; we are to be striving for Christ, for His likeness, for His Gospel, and for His glory.
If we keep our eyes on Jesus Christ we will not become intimidated by those who oppose Christianity. I am reading David Jeremiahâ€™s new book â€œI Never Thought Iâ€™d See The Dayâ€ and he talks about a new atheism that is becoming more aggressive as it becomes more irrelevant. We cannot allow such militancy to frighten us from our goal of the gospel. We must remember, as Isaiah reminded Israel, that the Lord our God is with us:
â€œBut now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: â€˜Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I gave Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in your place.â€™â€ (Isaiah 43:1-3)
Beloved if we are to live victorious Christian lives and to keep striving for Christ we must understand that we have the salvation of God within us. We have the power to obey Godâ€™s Word and His Will residing inside of each born-again believer. If you want to see a clear example of that then go read Acts 16 to see how Paulâ€™s first trip to Philippi went. (No really, I want you to look at that chapter).
Let me give you a warning though; you going to read about Paul and Silasâ€™ suffering for Christ.
That comes with the territory of being a Christian.
More on that tomorrow…
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Copyright Â© 2011 David Jeffers