Summary: It’s tough to be steadfast or loyal to our creditors when the mortgage or car payment is due, cash is tight, and work is gone. It’s tough to be steadfast and hang on in relationships when so many are divorcing their families and walking away. It is tou

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I’m sure you have had at least one experience where something overwhelmed you to the point that you wondered if you could survey the fallout from it. Your mind is gone there already. Some of you are in the middle of that something and are desperate for help and hope. Others have come through and in some ways never fully recovered. Some look back, can witness to making it through, but are fearful of the next bomb that might come.

We need resources, tools that help us in these times. I’m to share with you the theme, "Keeping it together when you’re falling apart." Your relationship with God is the anchor for the priceless treasures we’ll consider. Aiming for these things in your life must not be approached with a mind that says, "I have to do these things because God expects them" which is a form of legalism. You approach these with an understanding that the activity of these qualities in your life will make you richer and fuller and will flood your life with peace and purpose. It’s not about what you "have to do" but about what God wants to do for you!

Topic 1: Remaining Steadfast

To remain steadfast is similar to the word staunch. Staunch is an interesting word. We use it sometimes to describe people who show certain loyalties to things or people -- he’s a staunch Libreral or Democrat or they are staunch Ranger fans. It suggests you couldn’t possibly change their minds to cross the floor to another political party or cheer for a different hockey team. These examples show us what it means to be steadfast David’s prayer in Psalm 51:10 that God would "renew a steadfast spirit" within him was actually his way of saying, "renew a {staunch} spirit within me".

Steadfast is expressed another way. In the New Living Translation of the Bible it says, "Renew a loyal spirit within me."

Being steadfast, staunch or loyal is a huge issue today. It’s tough to be steadfast or loyal to our creditors when the mortgage or car payment is due, cash is tight, and work is gone. It’s tough to be steadfast and hang on in relationships when so many are divorcing their families and walking away. It is tough to be steadfast by trusting God when life is scary, rough and uncertain.

If we’re to keep it together when we’re falling apart, we need to learn the art and experience of steadfastness, of staunchness, or of loyalty. Let’s explore three things that speak of developing a life of steadfastness, a life of loyalty.

1. Steadfastness comes through pain

1 Peter 5:10...

This verse doesn’t mean we’re to ask for pain so we can learn to be steadfast. However, God can use our pain and suffering to do a great work in us if we are willing to receive it and look through the lens of his heart. Theologian William Barclay comments and illustrates with a story. "Suffering, if accepted in humility and trust and love, can repair the weaknesses of a {person’s} character and add the greatness which so far is not there. It is said that Sir Edward Elgar once listened to a young girl singing a solo from one of his own works. She had a voice of exceptional purity and clarity and range, and an almost perfect technique. When she had finished, Sir Edward said softly, ’She will be really great when something happens to break her heart.’"

We only reach our highest potential through pain.

Psalm 51 -- our text -- was written by King David about a year after he had an adulterous affair. While his men were off to war he was home relaxing. The story results in a series of events that went from adultery to deception and finally murder to cover his tracks and hide his transgressions. When his sin caught up with him David wept and grieved deeply. Through his tears and pain he wrote Psalm 51 as he clutched words like "have mercy" (v 1); "blot out my transgressions, wash away all my iniquity" (v 1-2); "cleanse me¡ wash me"(v 7); finally leading to verses 10-12...

We now appreciate more deeply why David pleaded with God to renew a loyal heart within him. David compromised steadfastness with corruption. He wanted steadfastness back. Through the pain of his misbehaviour and sin God redeemed a broken man. Through his pain David learned the art of being loyal or steadfast and became staunch in his pursuit of God and in his pursuit of loyal relationships.

In addition to understanding how remaining steadfast is important personally in our lives we also need to see the larger picture of Christ’s church. We need to understand the responsibility we have to be loyal to each other and to support one another in our pain and suffering as members of this church. There should be no room in our hearts for criticism and unkindness, for divided loyalties and personal biases. It is critically important to remain steadfast through our difficult times and to remain loyal to God’s leadership for the church.

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