Summary: Faithfulness is finishing the race under normal circumstance while steadfastness is finishing the race even under very difficult circumstances. In this message we will learn some great advice from Joshua on how to develop the attitude of steadfastness.
Joshua 23: 6 “Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left. 7 Do not associate with these nations that remain among you; do not invoke the names of their gods or swear by them. You must not serve them or bow down to them. 8 But you are to hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have until now.
1 Corinthians 15:58, "Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord knowing that in the Lord, your labor is not in vain."
Last week we talked about developing the attitude of faithfulness.
We learned that man by nature is selfish and there is no inherent faithfulness in his life.
But God is faithful and He wants to give us this character of faithfulness.
And so, we come to the cross of Christ and acknowledge His Lordship over us.
Then, we learn to be faithful by reading His word and to trusting Him more each day,
And that attitude of faithfulness that we received from God should last a lifetime.
Someday, the Lord will reward us if we have lived a life of faithfulness.
God's reward for faithfulness is always a life of blessings and a word of commendation.
"Well done, good and faithful servant, you have been faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things!"
In our message for today, we will talk about developing the attitude of steadfastness.
Steadfastness is one aspect of the many parts of faithfulness that we need to develop.
While faithfulness means being reliable, being trustworthy or devoted to the cause of Christ.
Steadfastness on the other hand means the ability to be fixed in one direction, to be steadily directed and to have an unwavering faith on God in the midst of great trouble and difficulty we are facing.
Faithfulness is finishing the race under normal circumstances.
Steadfastness on the other hand is finishing the race under very difficult circumstances.
To illustrate, imagine for a moment the steadfastness of a soldier during the second world war.
He was asked by his commanding officer to deliver a message to another battalion on the other side of the mountain because there was no radio contact.
Faithfulness is when he is able to deliver the message without much delay in full obedience to the command.
Steadfastness however is when he is able to deliver the message even if he had to go through being fired at by the enemy and maneuvering himself along the way through dangerous land mines.
Hence, steadfastness is coupled with determination, with courage and fortitude.
In the same manner, God wants us to remain steadfast in our faith even if we are under great trial or stress.
Because in our lives, we will always be tested and tried every single day.
I believe that the best way for us to be able to understand this word steadfastness is to consider the words of the apostle Paul to the church at Corinth when he wrote these words during their most difficult moment.
The apostle Paul encourages them to be steadfast in 1 Corinthians 15:58, "Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord knowing that in the Lord, your labor is not in vain."
The most serious problem that the Corinthian church was facing at the moment was worldliness, an unwillingness to be separated from the clutches of materialism.
At the same time, most of the believers could not consistently detached themselves from their old, selfish, immoral pagan views.
And the entire church was being corrupted by this unholy union.
It was therefore necessary for the apostle Paul to write them a letter in order to correct them.
He even goes to the point of breaking fellowship with the disobedient and the unrepentant members so that the church will not be contaminated with such immoral actions.
Moral purity is the goal of the Christian life.
In this aspect, the apostle Paul told them to be steadfast, to be fixed in one direction in spite of the many temptations around them.
He tells them to be pure and pleasing before the Lord at all times.
He bids them in order to be steadfast, they should focus upon one thing - "The work of the Lord."
Focusing on God and His mission for us will make us steadfast.
And he tells them WHY they should be steadfast on God's work.
"Because your labor is not in vain, or your labor will be rewarded someday."
And so, it might seem that all our labors for God might not be appreciated at this moment, but someday, it will be if we remain steadfast.