12 I write to you, little children,
Because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.
13 I write to you, fathers,
Because you have known Him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
Because you have overcome the wicked one.
I write to you, little children,
Because you have known the Father.
14 I have written to you, fathers,
Because you have known Him who is from the beginning.
I have written to you, young men,
Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you,
And you have overcome the wicked one. - 1 John 2:12-14
This is a house that stood steady and remained standing after a devastating hurricane swept through Gilchrist, Texas on September of 2008. Much like life, we all face whirlwinds of problems and waves of challenges and we all want to be like this house - STEADFAST. Steadfastness is a quality or character that can be repeatedly seen encouraged in the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:58; Galatians 6:9; James 1:12; 1 Cor. 16:13; James 1:2-4; Heb. 10:23; Titus 2:2; Col. 4:2; Psalm 51:10) Even JESUS our Lord, taught on steadfastness and one of the most notable ones is in John 15. To be STEADFAST means to be resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering; loyal, steady, faithful, dedicated, devoted; it means to ABIDE without faltering; to REMAIN when all others have shrunk back; it means to keep on keeping on. JESUS and the Bible authors echo this admonition because the reality is Christianity is never easy. The adversary will continue to use circumstances, our weaknesses, people and all sorts of schemes to take the men and women of God down. He came to steal, kill and destroy... Jesus admonishes us to remain because we have a tendency to wander. In fact, in many instances in the gospels, Jesus was abandoned by His disciples (e.g. John 6:60-61; 66-68; Mark 14:50). But God is always looking for a heart that will be STEADFAST towards Him (2 Chron. 16:9). Though difficult, it is not impossible to be STEADFAST as shown by the many imperfect heroes of faith we know from the Bible. The secret hasn't been our ability to be steadfast but on how we anchor our hearts and fix our eyes to the STEADFASTNESS of our Lord. This passage show us some clues which are building blocks for a STEADFAST FAITH:
1. LITTLE CHILDREN
12 I am writing to you, little children,
because your sins are forgiven for his name's sake.
13 I write to you, children,
because you know the Father.
"Little children" here is not age-related. This is a term of relationship - as children to the Father. But it also implies infancy in spirituality. “Born again” - in many parts of the Scriptures we find terminologies of apostles pertaining to spiritual babies or infants (1 Cor. 3:1-5; Eph. 4:14; 1 Pet 2:2)
The CORNERSTONE of our FAITH is JESUS. Our relationship with our Lord w=is what makes us steadfast. We have to be careful though what version of JESUS we are believing. He is Lord and Saviour and His character is unmistakeable in the pages of the Scriptures. HE IS NOT THE MEANS TO AN END. HE IS THE END! HE IS NOT A VEHICLE TO A GOAL - HE IS THE GOAL. JESUS is ENOUGH! If we don’t get this one right - we won’t get anything right.
"... your sins are forgiven for his name's sake."
A steady Christian understands this. There is now no condemnation those who are in Him.
As Christians, we have to understand our redemption clearly. The CROSS - its meaning - its revelation has to be the clearest vision and wonderment we must have; this is the bedrock of our JOY - STEADFASTNESS is POSSIBLE when we are established on this
For new believers (spiritual infants), we must make it our business to know GOD. (e.g. the example of the Zebra). How you know God personally matters if you are to stand strong in your faith. It’s not how much you know about God but how much you know God.
2. YOUNG MEN
13b I am writing to you, young men,
because you have overcome the evil one.
14b I write to you, young men,
because you are strong,
and the word of God abides in you,
and you have overcome the evil one.
HOW DO YOU OVERCOME THE EVIL ONE? - By being strong! HOW DO YOU BUILD STRENGTH? - By storing up God's WORD in our hearts and abiding in it
STRENGTH is necessary for steadfastness. It is the capacity of an object or substance to withstand great force or pressure; robustness, firmness, toughness.
If you google the question "what are strength exercises?"; these are the ones you will normally find:
working with resistance bands.
heavy gardening, such as digging and shovelling.
push-ups, sit-ups and squats.
RESISTANCE BUILDS STRENGTH. A Physical Trainer will normally give it to you in increasing measure if you are to increase strength. A trainee will not run away from it but take it head-on. The muscles of faith develop only through exercise and practice of it. Strength develops through resistance… your own flesh and soul are resistance to what the spirit wants. Negative circumstances are resistance to what we need to do and to be in the Kingdom of God. Many Christians are weak because we resist to work out our salvation and our faith. We just want the comfort zone but the Bible says:
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfil his good purpose. - Phil. 2:12-13
3. FATHERS (Spiritual Parents)
13 I am writing to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
We need people who have walked with God long enough and have stood the test of time; those who have developed spiritual vigour and strength through years of steadfastness and can mentor the young.
"...you know HIM who is from the beginning."
We need spiritual parents who are intimately acquainted with God - that there is no mistaking who He really is - to guide, coach, lead, guide and equip the young in the faith.
But even then, many of those who have run the race long enough did not necessarily finish strong enough; and worse some have turned away. Why? Because one of the most fundamental block of STEADFASTNESS is HUMILITY. Not because we have run the long miles of faith, doesn’t mean we have already arrived. No! We will keep on keeping on, we will not neglect the fundamentals, we will keep pressing on - we will have the same attitude as Paul did:
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. - Phil. 3:7-14
In summary: 1. LITTLE CHILDREN
- Be established in your SALVATION
- Make it a priority to grow in the grace and knowledge of your Heavenly Father
2. YOUNG MEN - Build and use your strength, dig deeper and be established in HIS WORD
- Abide in it! Overcome the enemy and every temptation and challenges he brings
- STAY HUMBLE! Marvel at GOD’s FAITHTFULNESS in your life; remember what He has done for you but never settle nor think that you have arrived. BE STEADFAST!
“My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises!” - Ps. 57:7
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. - Lamentations 3:22-23
“The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You.” - Isa. 26:3
QUESTIONS for DISCUSSION:
1. What does it mean to be steadfast?
2. Why is it important to be steadfast?
3. Why do you think the Bible is full of passages that talk about being steadfast? 4. Why would Jesus teach on STEADFASTNESS? 5. What are building blocks of a STEADFAST faith in Christ? 6. Which of these parts do you feel you need to strengthen or enrich in your life? 7. How can you help and support each other to be steadfast?