To be steadfast is to be like God. I now know it more completely than at any other time in my life.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4
Once thrust into loss, one of the reverberating themes was I had to trust the steadfast love of the Lord. I was told that his steadfast love never ceased. I was desperate, and I believed it. Pressed into it. Relied upon it.
One Sunday I shared my story and spoke out of Psalm 89 in my home church. I remember stating emphatically, “If your circumstances are telling you that he has removed his steadfast love from you, your circumstances are lying to you.” I believe that more as my journey goes on. I also believe it is important to coach yourself to believe it more and more as time progresses. Paul tells us God is faithful because he cannot deny himself (2 Timothy 2:13). He is trustworthy. Dependable. Unchanging.
“I drink of the depths of the love of Heaven, the mighty, exhaustless tide. ‘Drink, drink abundantly, O beloved! I was smitten, accursed for thee.’ O lips as lilies, O mouth most sweet, that tell Thy heart to me!” Frances Bevan, Hymns of Ter Steegan and Others
James opens his book by telling us that a goal in our lives is steadfastness. To be steadfast is to be like God. It is to be like Christ. And what is it that gives birth to steadfastness? James tell us that various trials deliver steadfastness. Testing delivers. So, it follows that if I want steadfastness, I need to rest in his steadfastness during difficult times. My steadfastness comes from doggedly trusting him, especially in tough times. No matter what I face. Trials give birth to steadfastness in my life.
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”James 1:12
As we are told in Psalm 89, God cannot be false to his faithfulness (Psalm 89:33). So, in that declaration, we can stand strong. He is steadfast so we can press into his lavish love and rest assuredly. Trust in him in and through any trial. And you’ll be blessed if you remain steadfast. Stand the test and receive a crown of life. God promises this gift of glorification—made perfect in eternity with him.
This truth, this foundation, can project confidence into your present journey. Regardless of the depth of your pain, his steadfast love never ceases. He cannot be false to his faithfulness. He can be trusted. He is the only one who can be fully trusted. Therefore, blessed are you if you remain steadfast under your present trial. You will be rewarded for your Christ-like response to pain and loss.
James goes on in his first chapter to give some further instruction. In light of counting it all joy and remaining steadfast under trials and in light of the promised blessing and crown, we are to put away all filthiness. We are to run from rampant wickedness.
Instead, we are to receive the implanted, delivered word with all meekness.
“Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.”James 1:21