Summary: Many people proclaim their loyalty but steadfast people are hard to find.
Keys to Steadfastness
1. Paul’s steadfastness serves as an inspiration and a challenge for any person who contemplates just settling for second best.
ILlustration:Consider the postage stamp: Its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing till it gets there.
Based on the great apostle’s unshakeable faith we get an appreciation of the agony, fear, and conflicts he endured throughout his 35 years in the ministry.
Paul’s unwavering attention to God’s priorities makes him an example of how to remain calm, sober and reliable when others give up.
In growing wearier by the hardships, Paul used the difficulties to build a richer resolution to continue in Christ till the end.
Ask the Lord to help you imitate Paul’s steadfastness in your journey toward righteousness and Godly kingdom building.
Paul wrote, “Be steadfast knowing your labors are not in vain in the Lord.” ( I Cor. 15:58) Many things are done in vain, but not service for Jesus.
2. Paul’s difficult missionary journeys prepared him to face more complicated challenges that elevated him to the highest halls of human leadership.
Illustration:A recent television documentary pointed out that the cheetah survives on the African plains by running down its prey. The big cat can sprint seventy miles per hour. But the cheetah cannot sustain that pace for long. Within its long, sleek body is a disproportionately small heart, which causes the cheetah to tire quickly. Unless the cheetah catches its prey in the first flurry, it must abandon the chase. Sometimes Christians seem to have the cheetah’s approach to ministry. We speed into projects with great energy. But lacking the heart for sustained effort, we fizzle before we finish. We vow to start faster and run harder, when what we need may be not more speed but more staying power--stamina that comes only from a bigger heart. Motion and busyness, no matter how great, yield nothing unless we allow God to give us the heart.
Paul talks to no less than six major leaders in his day while speaking in his own defense. Because Paul was willing to endure so much adversity for Christ’s sake, rulers curiously beckoned him to talk to them about his motivations.
God’s preparation program often enables us to be able to accomplish far greater exploits if we are willing to let God put us in the best places.
Trust God to use your many years of steadfastness to propel you into greater places of service.
3. Paul’s steadfastness helped him to overcome the temptations of other weaker people. While many other believers fall into all kinds of sins of omissions, commission, wrong attitudes or faulty assumptions, a steadfast Christian is able to avoid the traps of this corrupt world.
Ask the Lord to help you to be so involved with Christ’s service that you are facilitated in being delivered from the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes and the pride of life.
4. Paul’s steadfastness taught him to not listen to unwise people who urged him to avoid going to Jerusalem. Many well-meaning friends may offer misguided advise. Paul chose to listen to the voice of the Spirit of God instead of those who were more concerned about his human safety.
A steadfast Christian will have to rely more on the Spirit of God’s teaching, urgings and leading than even their best friend’s counsel.
Ask God to give you the steadfast discernment to hear God’s voice above any human persuasions.
5. Paul’s steadfastness came from his commitment to obey God regardless of the costs. Even when Paul heard the prophetic voice of good men urging him not to go into Jerusalem, he proceeded because he knew that real love for God is measured best by our obedience to His will. (John 14:21)
Steadfast Christians are going to remain solidly committed to Christ, the growth of His church and to service by helping to fulfill the great commission.
Ask the Lord to help you to bring people to evidence greater commitment to the three essential commitments instead of many unessential desires.
6. Paul’s steadfastness helped him developed a spirit of humility and confidence. He gained the realization that God could do whatever He wanted to do through him.
Few people are able to transform themselves into Godly people without the Holy Spirit’s taking away some of their former unhealthy mannerisms. Just as Job learned, Paul surrendered his will to God in all things knowing that no purpose of His could be thwarted. (Job 42:1,2)
Ask God to teach you to exhibit more of an attitude of humility, confidence and trust in His sovereign power.
7. Paul’s steadfastness proved to be a huge inspiration to the families in Tyre and wherever he went. Tyre was decaying commercially, but Paul gave them a greater means of obtaining prosperity. Tyre’s port allowed Paul’s visit to have multiplying effects.