I sipped my coffee and listened to an interview about “spirituality” for the new year. The person being interviewed would define that word differently than I would, but she made a great point that prompted my thoughts. Her advice for the new year was not to make a resolution, but to choose a word that would be your focus throughout the coming year.
Jim and I discussed her suggestion as we walked down the beach, later that morning. Was that good advice? Our answer: yes and no.
We all enjoy the idea that there can be “5 easy steps” to something. But, we all know that our spiritual lives don’t really work that way. That said, the idea of a word to use as a focus intrigued me.
So, I decided to choose these two for next year: Hold fast.
The same mistake
I sat in a beautiful room, overlooking the ocean. The unending waves rolled in, strong and relentless. I watched the storm clouds approach. I’ve always loved the ocean because it reminds me of God. I think of words like immeasurable and everlasting.
But the word that came to my mind that day was unchanging.
When I think about the past ten years, I do not think Christianity has prospered in our country. I think we are making the same mistake God’s people have always made, and I guess probably always will.
The question today is: Are you making that mistake?
God’s people prosper when they submit to his word. That’s why God made certain to provide people who would be his prophets and teachers. He gave his laws and an entire body of Scripture. God even gave us his Word, in the flesh. God provided everything people would need to walk through this lifetime guided by his holy truth and, one day, live eternally in his kingdom. People have always been given God’s truth.
We can’t control the oceans, and we can’t control God’s truth. We can control our response to his truth with two words: Hold fast.
A friend shared a powerful message at a retreat this past fall. She simply read these verses as her message to us. Allow God’s Holy Spirit to speak these to you:
- “So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter” (2 Thessalonians 2:15).
- “Test everything; hold fast what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
- “Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:13 NKJV).
- “He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it” (Titus 1:9).
If you were to stand on the beach in Tarsus, Capernaum, or Patmos and stare only at the water, you would see the same thing that Paul, Peter, and John saw thousands of years ago. If you looked upon the water in the Sea of Galilee, you would see what Jesus saw when he walked out to his fear-filled disciples. When God created the waters of this earth, he revealed his everlasting character.
God is unchanging, yet unpredictable. God is all-powerful, yet gentle. God is constant, yet patient. God is timeless, yet still current. God is immeasurable, yet knowable. And God’s word is his truth.
If you want to walk with the God of the universe this year, hold fast to his unchanging, powerful word. We cannot eliminate the oceans from our world, and we cannot eliminate truth from God’s word. Is there something in God’s word you have chosen to ignore, rewrite, or adapt to your beliefs?
We cannot change truth. God’s word is like the ocean. It will remain long after our opinions are silenced. God’s truth endures. This year, will you choose to hold fast to the ancient and unchanging message of his truth? Will you hold fast to your God whose message is revealed on each page of the Bible?
The author of Hebrews was trying to encourage the early Christians to remain steadfast in their faith and wrote these words: “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23).
Hold fast to the eternal truth of God’s word. It’s a biblical focus for 2019—and all the new years to come. Hold fast, knowing Jesus will come again.
The waves continue to roll to the shore. God’s truth will continue as well. He who promised is faithful.
Hold fast to his word and you will be faithful too.