Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle. (2 Thessalonians 2:15)
Call me a rebel, counter-cultural, or anti-progressive. But my prophetic and discerning spirit is blaring warning sirens and invokes the urgent call to stand fast.
Today’s societal environment contains intense and unprecedented pressure to drown out God’s absolute truth via moral relativism, watered down spiritual vignettes, spiritual indifference, and wholesale ignorance. Preferred or relative truth is eagerly substituted as real truth. Now, more than ever, we need a sure and steadfast anchor for our souls (Hebrews 6:19). That anchor is the unchanging Rock of Ages, the Lord Jesus Christ. As tossed ships on the stormy seas of this life, it is vital we stand fast in Him, His Word, and our faith in Him.
When confronting headwinds of temptation, division, cultural pressure, and adversity, as followers of Jesus Christ, we will be either unstable or unshakable. Either we are resolute in our values, convictions, and knowledge of Scriptural truth, or we will sway, crumble, and retreat when challenged, berated, or accused.
The Scriptural call to “stand fast” implies a conscious choice to remain steadfast or unmovable, to stay firm or resolute, and to persevere. In a changing world, there are obvious occasions for adaptation to avoid being left behind. For example, rotary phones, 8-track players, and television cathode ray tubes are all best left in the past as they serve no purpose today. Admittedly, change means growth and growth is usually good. However, there are critical, decisive moments in life when standing resolute is paramount. Here are a few of those moments and choices facing Christians today.
Stand Fast in the Faith
Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong (1 Corinthians 16:13).
This wake up call prompts us to become alert and pay attention to not only what we believe, but to understand and defend why we believe it. Instead of simply accepting today’s moral relativism where everything is acceptable, stand for the truth. Instead of being “blown about with every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14), establish a firm foundation on God’s reliable truth.
As a word of caution, we are warned, “Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). Testing something requires comparison to reliable truth. That truth is found only in God’s Word. To maximize its affect, read it, become familiar with it, memorize it, and apply it to daily life. Mostly importantly, sit quietly in God’s presence, opening heart and mind to His Holy Spirit’s instructions.
Understanding the why of our faith provides the reason to remain steadfast in the face of temptation. When facing societal pressures, we find courage to be “steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
- When religion replaces relationship in Jesus Christ, stand fast
- Though someone discredits Jesus as the Son of God come in the flesh, stand fast
- If people say, “There are many roads to God,” stand fast
Stand Fast in Christian Liberty
Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage (Galatians 5:1).
Liberty means freedom from past bondage, freedom from the penalty and power of sin. As spiritually reborn followers of Jesus, we have been freed from sin (past, present, and future) and are now servants to righteousness. But we also must strive to remain free from the entanglement of legalism and works-based religion. If the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed (John 8:36).
- When the past comes back to haunt you, stand fast
- If past sinful habits sing their tempting call, stand fast
- Should legalism raise demanding requirements, stand fast
Stand Fast in one Spirit
Stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel (Philippians 1:27).
The concept of Scriptural unity (Psalm 133:1) implies being of one mind, of one spirit. “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). To be Christ-minded means we listen for and hear only His voice (John 10:27). To be like-minded means no division or infighting (1 Corinthians 12:25). The uniting element is “one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all” (Ephesians 4:1-8). This should inflame a passionate desire for Scriptural unity. By bearing one another’s burdens, we care for and encourage one another (Galatians 6:2). Standing shoulder to shoulder against common enemies, we strengthen each other.
Battling Three Main Enemies
Our primary enemy, the devil, is the accuser (Revelation 12:10), a murder, and the father of lies (John 8:44). He seeks to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). Resisting him with God’s Word makes him leave (James 4:7).
Another enemy is the world. Jesus said, “No man can serve two masters” (Matthew 6:24). We consistently fall when trying to stand with one foot following Christ while the other foot chases the world. Paul warned against conforming to the world (Romans 12:2). James discouraged even friendly association with the world as hostility with God (James 4:4).
A subtle enemy is our carnal nature. John warned against the “lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, pride of life” (1 John 2:16). We battle this enemy successfully by approaching it as Nehemiah did when rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. To continue working while prepared for the enemy’s attack, he instructed everyone to work with a tool in one hand while holding a sword in the other (Nehemiah 4:16-18). As part of our spiritual armor, we wield the sword of God’s Word (Ephesians 6:17) against this conniving enemy.
- Should discontent or discord threaten spiritual unity, stand fast
- If Satan and the sinful world attempt to divide, stand fast
- When the old carnal nature creeps up, stand fast
Stand Fast in the Lord
Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, so stand fast in the Lord (Philippians 4:1).
We accomplish this by never denying Jesus or recanting our faith in Him. “Whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:33). There can be no turning back. Jesus said anyone who turns back is unfit for service in the kingdom of God (Luke 9:62).
God remains unchangeable. “I the Lord do not change” (Malachi 3:6). He has no variableness or shadow of turning. (James 1:17). He does not change with cultural norms. He remains exclusive to those who hear His voice and follow. “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).
- When society pressures you to conform, stand fast
- Should political correctness cloud the truth, stand fast
- When moral relativism encourages “all truth is truth,” stand fast
Stand Fast in Adversity
In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world (John 16:33).
When facing adversity, trust Him through your storms. Trials are God’s refining crucible. He sovereignly orchestrates events and circumstances. He appoints prosperity and adversity alike (Ecclesiastes 7:14). Yet He promises when going through His floods, they will not overwhelm us; when walking through His fire, it will not burn or scorch us (Isaiah 43:2-3).
In His ongoing transformation, He sovereignly orchestrates all things (Romans 8:28-29). The trials we face, the testing of our faith, produces patience on the journey to becoming “perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:2-4). His transformation continues “until Christ is formed in you” (Galatians 4:19).
- Should adversity batter you, stand fast
- When feeling abandoned and hopeless, stand fast
- If heaven seems distant and silent, stand fast
In this time of rapidly shifting morals, ever-eroding standards, and appeal for “preferable” truth, our only hope is found on the stable, unshakable Word of God and His enduring, immutable characteristics. To attempt seeking it elsewhere is to sail life’s stormy seas at the mercy of an unrelenting wind blowing toward the craggy rocks of perdition.
“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand (Ephesians 6:13).