As I’ve been tweaking my blog over the last couple of weeks, I’ve changed the name of it from Cerebration (which means “to think”, which I love to do) to Standing Fast (which I need to do). Why? I would probably have to say for fairly selfish reasons—-I need a daily reminder; no, an hourly reminder to stand fast in the Lord. And surely I’m not along in that need?
My theme verse for this blog has always been 1 Thessalonians 3:8: For now we live if you are standing fast in the Lord. It will remain my theme verse, for two reasons. First, it reminds me I have a responsibility to Stand Fast in my Lord. To not waiver. But second of all, I want it to be an encouragement to you to stand fast in the Lord as well. “For now I live, if you are standing fast in the Lord.” I want to see you fighting to stand fast–because it is a fight.
The verses following 3:8 read:
9 For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, 10 as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith?
Do you see the earnestness in these two verses? Do you hear the encouragement that these two verses resonate with, when put together with 1 Thessalonians 3:8? Thanksgiving. Joy. Prayer. These verses spur me on to continue the fight to stand fast in my God.
But what happens when standing fast feels like standing in quick sand? Because it does sometimes. I know-it’s felt that way for me for the past week or so. Almost like I’m standing, but the ground beneath me is shifting, is giving way. My legs feel week, they shake and tremble as I fight to remain upright. What causes these moments to happen? Unconfessed sin? Lack of faith? The circumstances of one’s life? Battle fatigue? Despair? Depression? A longing for home? Intense fear?
I don’t know the answer to that question. If I absolutely had to answer, I would say all of these reasons and none of these reasons. Because sometimes the sinking sand has a specific cause, and other times the cause is completely indiscernible.
Philippians 4:1 is another great example of the exhortation to Stand Fast: Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved. So similar to 1 Thessalonians 3:8, Paul is urging his brothers (and sisters), whom he loves and misses to stand firm in the Lord. To not waiver. To not give up. To work hard. And it takes work. It does. This is not something one can be passive about and expect to easily stand firm, at least that’s not the way it works for me. Sometimes I look at people who seem to be able to stand fast without the fight it seems to take me–those whose faith without doubt comes easy to them, they seem so strong and steady, and I wish fervently that that was me. But it’s not. It takes me hard work to stand fast: Scripture work, Soul work, Earnest prayer, and then an almost hourly fight to remain that way.
There has been a lot of discussion about depression this week, following the tragic suicide of Rick and Kay Warren’s son. Much discussion. All of a sudden everyone seems to be speaking about it. It’s every where I look and read. This is a good thing–this discussion needs to be fostered; needs to be encouraged. But it’s also a hard thing to read-a painful thing to read in my own soul. I’ve addressed it myself both here and in my newsletter this week. For me, personally, it has been a reminder of the need to stand fast. To fight hard. To long for home deeply, but to stay because that is what I’m called to do. But it’s also reminded me of something else; something I hadn’t considered before—-
I want to show you something that I saw this morning when I was doing scripture work, writing and praying. For the first time, I linked two things together: The several instances in scripture where we are told to “Stand Fast”, and then the many, many, many instances in scripture where the word “steadfast” is used in connection with God. Ive always been fascinated by the frequency of the use of the word “Steadfast” in scripture in describing God, particularly His love. I once did a search in my Bible software (which is still currently out of commission, grrr) and was astounded at how many times the word “Steadfast” is found in the Bible. **I just did a search in the Faithlife Bible, and it came up with 215 times in the ESV).
What does it mean to say that God’s love is steadfast? Or that God, in and of Himself, is steadfast? It means that His love never changes. It means that no matter what life here on earth throws at us, His love never changes. No matter how ugly our sin is, He still loves us and longs for us to repent and turn back to Him. It means that He is the Great I AM. It means that when there is nowhere else to go, there He is–and isn’t He a better alternative than any other choice? Peter landed on this truth when He said to Jesus (in John 6:68): 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” Peter essentially says “Where else are we to go, except to you Jesus? You have the words of eternal life! We Believe! We know that you are the one true God!
That’s Steadfastness. That’s steadfast love.
And so I reminded myself this morning, that I can stand fast only because of His steadfastness. Only because of His steadfast love for me.
Because with out His steadfast love, my spiritual legs are like jelly and the land around me like the sea, threatening to swallow me whole.