"Steadfast has held its ground in English for many centuries. Its Old English predecessor, stedefæst, combined stede (meaning "place" or "stead") and fæst (meaning "firmly fixed"). An Old English text of the late 10th century, called The Battle of Maldon, contains our earliest record of the word, which was first used in battle contexts to describe warriors who stood their ground. Soon, it was also being used with the broad meaning "immovable," and as early as the 13th century it was applied to those unswerving in loyalty, faith, or friendship. Centuries later, all of these meanings endure." (Merriam-Webster online dictionary)
The very word "steadfast" and its meaning have endured...which is what it means. Just struck me as humorously interesting. But I also loved the analogy here of the warrior who stands their ground. Truthfully, that is precisely what having a steadfast spirit means.
Our Mustard Seed Faith Challenge this week deals with steadfastness which is multifaceted. We can examine God's steadfast love for us, or ours for God (a goal...probably not something we've attained!), the love we have for our spouses...steadfastness is a virtue in many dimensions. I invite you to our challenge blog to read the devotional there. I'll post my card submission as a design team member for our current challenge, but I'd like to explore this particular verse and shine some light on the multifaceted word steadfast so it sparkles in your heart!
Our challenge is to create a card with either a friendship
or love/marriage theme to go with a focal verse in Hosea.
It's a book that definitely shows us God's steadfast love toward us.
My card reflects the effects of someone's steadfast friendship...
someone whose friendship stays the course and does not waver.
The card could be for a spouse...anyone who blesses another.
What does it mean to have a steadfast spirit? Do you have one? I'd like to offer some verses of scripture that may guide you in some study and prayer time as you seek to have a more steadfast spirit.
- I believe a steadfast spirit starts with a steadfast mind. Isaiah 26:3 says, "You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you." Trusting God is essential as we develop the right perspective on our circumstances. If we lack trust, have a mind that wanders from Christ and God's Word, we've already lost the battle. So, are you DETERMINED to be steadfast because you TRUST GOD?
- A steadfast heart is one that is immoveable, unshakable...not because of our own courageousness, but because we live in expectant and certain hope. We know the prize awaits us, and that certainty can keep us steady on our feet. When we are firmly planted in God's promises we will refuse to let the world move us, corrupt us, influence us. We will be grounded, rooted and standing on the Solid Rock. No wind of error will take us to the right or left. 1 Corinthians 15:58 says it best, "Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
- Does your perspective change as the life-is-easy/life-is-difficult meter swings from side to side? We all surely know by this point life has it's ups and downs. Sometimes the downs are so low we wonder if we can ever climb out of the hole. The more we try to dig our way out, the deeper the pit descends. Been there? Where is our faith during these times? If your faith falters in the difficult seasons of life you need a good dose of steadfastness. And God will provide that. 1 Peter 5:10 gives us the confidence that God will supply our steadfast spirit-- (That's great news!!!) "And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast." We are never promised a life void of suffering...but we are promised that the God of all grace will dispense HIS strength to us when we need it. Are you asking for it? Are you availing yourself of the Lord's rich supply of steadfastness? As the opening passage/graphic indicates...it is God who RENEWS a steadfast spirit within us!
- Steadfastness is dispensed as we ask and obey. Psalm 119:5 says, "Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees!" and Proverbs 4:26 adds, "Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways." Intentional obedience to what God has already said in His Word provides a path for steadfastness. If we are constantly living in disobedience to the Lord our way is strewn with boulders of rebelliousness...we have to navigate around the very pitfalls and obstacles we are responsible for constructing. We will stumble over them. A stalwart and steadfast soldier is not out there on the battlefield stumbling around aimlessly slashing at the air lamenting that he should have trained harder. No, he is strategically, purposefully aiming the truth of God's Word at anything and anyone who seeks to bring him down. Steadiness in obedience brings steadfastness to the heart.
- Finally (although there are many more scriptures on the topic), I'd like to offer the beauty of Psalm 57:7 for your meditation and study, "My heart, O God, is steadfast, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music." When troubles come, sing! When circumstances knock you down, get back up and start dancing...make music. I love the story in 2 Chronicles 20:21, "After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: 'Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever'." Isn't that fantastic?! The king sends out singers in FRONT of the army...and they are singing of the steadfast love of the Lord. That just makes me smile. (Please just go read the first 29 verses of chapter 20. It's amazing.) When you have a battle facing you, do you go out singing? If your heart is steadfast, you will!
Hope to see you over at Mustard Seed Faith Challenges this week and next!