Temptation: What is steadfastness? Steadfastness is a measure of our resolve and our commitment to our values and beliefs even in the midst of adversity. The dictionary defines it as “firmly fixed in one’s opinion or course of action”. There is no weakness in steadfastness, only strength in the face of difficulties and challenges. It is having the courage to withstand opposition and remain true to our beliefs no matter what the circumstances may be. Some people are steadfast in their relationships, others in their work ethic, and still others in their job. But when the time comes, the most important thing is to be steadfast in your loyalty to God. Everything else in this world is temporary and can always be taken away, but the promises of God are eternal. There are pressures all around us to compromise our faith in order to fit in and be accepted but we must not succumb to this temptation. The world is filled with evil and the acceptance of even a little bit will lead many down a path of destruction. We must only look at the status and erosion of our society currently to see how the enemy has chipped away to the point we are in now. If you put your trust in the world and the goodness of humanity, darkness will envelop and overtake you quickly. Jesus gives us the perfect example of how to be steadfast against the devil when we read in the Gospel how he was tempted in the wilderness. “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.’” Then the devil took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written, ‘HE WILL COMMAND HIS ANGELS CONCERNING YOU’; and ‘ON their HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU UP, SO THAT YOU WILL NOT STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.’” Jesus said to him, “On the other hand, it is written, ‘YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.’” Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.’” Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.” — Matthew 4:1–11. Jesus is an example of steadfast resistance against Satan. His final rebuke was, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.’ When temptation comes, remember who you serve and give the devil an earful of the Word. Watch him flee and claim your steadfast victory in Him. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” — James 4:7. Knowing and standing on the Word is your key to overcoming the temptations of the enemy.
Loyalty: The wonderful thing about God is that He is always steadfast in his love toward mankind. God loves us so much that He sent His only begotten Son to pay the price for our sins. But for God to commune with us we need to likewise love Him and keep His commandments. “Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments.” — Deuteronomy 7:9. The Lord also looks for our relationship to be one of high fidelity. “For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, And in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” — Hosea 6:6. God offers us new life and an eternal Kingdom to come. He is steadfast in His plan of salvation for us and we only need to likewise be steadfast in our belief in Him. “For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him; If we endure, we shall also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us; If we are faithless, He remains faithful; for He cannot deny Himself.” — 2 Timothy 2:13. God is always faithful. He is continually waiting for us to come back to Him and seek Him with all our hearts. If we do, He will always be there for us with open arms. But if we choose to ignore Him and continue on our own path He cannot force us to return. We must choose to follow God’s plan or our own. So stay strong and steadfast and grow each day in Him. “For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” — 1 Peter 1:5–8.
In the Hills: One such example of a steadfast commitment to the Gospel is of a woman named Gregoria who we recently met in the Andes mountains of Peru. Every Saturday, she travels five hours over dusty mountain passes in old transports to get to villages where she conducts outreach. Her journey is no easy task as we can attest by undertaking the trip with her. She does not call herself a pastor or church elder, yet she is that and more as she leads a small church service every week and does vigorous outreach. She has a scarred face from an accidental burning but her character and love for God are more beautiful than any physical feature could ever be. Her Bible also shows the scars of usage from someone who truly loves God and wants to know Him in every way. We witnessed Gregoria joyfully weep as she told us how she has seen many believe in Jesus as she has preached from village to village. She is the type of missionary we need more of and it was a pleasure to share the Word of God alongside her. Her steadfast faith is an encouragement to see when many in the church have slowed their outreach efforts because of the pandemic. Gregoria commits to living for eternal things and great is her reward. She is the type of believer who holds fast and relies upon the Lord for all things. “I lift up my eyes to the hills from where my help comes; My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.” — Psalm 121:1. She is rich in the things of God and loyal to Him. Gregoria along with many other believers we have met around the world are wonderful examples of laborers following the call of the Great Commission. May the Lord raise up more steadfast workers like her in the years ahead.