“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (I Corinthians 15:58)
The words, steadfast and steadfastness occur more than thirty times in the scriptures. The use of steadfastness in I Corinthians 15 is a summary–a conclusion in the second longest letter written by the apostle Paul. We like steadfastness in other people, and hopefully in ourselves. The steadfast person is dependable. He or she can be counted on. The steadfast person does what he says he will do. She fulfills her promise.
The steadfast person does not go away when the going gets tough. Consider the reference to Job. He had more calamity and disappointment than almost anyone who has ever lived. When his wife saw what had happened, she urged him to “Curse God and die”. But Job is an encouragement to us. Although, he had suffered greatly, he did not give up his faith in God. He had to suffer “the condolences” of his three friends. Their assumption was that anyone who had suffered so much must have done some terrible evil. The book of Job reminds us that this is not necessarily true. Job was really a victim of God’s conversations with Satan. Many people suffer innocently. However, others may suffer as a consequence of their rebellion. A person who becomes inebriated and drives his car recklessly resulting in the loss of the car and his life—has only himself to blame. He is not a victim. Job was tried severely and he asked questions, of his friends and of God that he could not answer, yet he said,
“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at last he will stand upon the earth; and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then without my flesh I shall see God.” (Job 19:25,26)
“Behold, we call those happy who were 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)
Job was steadfast. He remained faithful. Just as our friends and family want to depend upon us that we will be steadfast—so our Savior depends upon us. We live in a time, when many would look down on Christians and even despise them. It is tempting to go into our bomb shelters and ignore the world around us. Our Savior is looking for steadfast followers. We sadly remember that in a time of great trial, Peter three times denied his Savior. He had an encounter with his Lord, and was restored. He lived up to his name, Peter, which means “rock”.
“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths. As for you, always be steady, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil your ministry.” (II Timothy 4:3-5)