Day 3 September 2022

CHAPTER 3

How to Be a Steadfast Christian

  • Therefore, my beloved brethren, BE YE STEDFAST, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. 1 Corinthians 15:58
  • Steadfastness is an important word that was developed by the navy.
  • Ships on the sea really needed to have the ability to stay on course because their lives depended on it.  The
  • sea is so vast and there was only a limited amount of food on a ship.
  • If you took the wrong direction, you could go for several days and simply arrive in the middle  of  nowhere in danger of dying from thirst and starvation
  • Steadfastness speaks of the ability to  CONSTANTLY stay in the right direction.
  • It also means you have the ability to come back to the right path when you have strayed away.
  • It is not only important for ships to develop steadfastness but for born again Christians and even pastors to develop the art of staying steadily on the right path. 
  • Indeed, you must develop the art of coming back to the correct path when you have strayed
  • away.    

These  are the  keys  to  developing  steadfastness  and steadiness in your Christian walk.

1.  Develop steadfastness by not loving  the world.

  • For  Demas  hath forsaken me,  having  LOVED this present world… 2 Timothy 4:10
  • Demas loved the world.  That is why he deserted Paul. 
  • If you love somebody, you will eventually gravitate towards that person. 
  • This explains why young ladies will leave their  loving parents and marry virtual strangers.
  • Love or lust is one  of the reasons for that gravitational pull.  
  • If you love the money, the  women, the  men, and  glitter that are in the   world, you will soon  find yourself gravitating towards these things. 
  • It is therefore important that the Christian should not have any strange love in his heart.
  • The prodigal son had a strong desire for the world.
  • He wanted to leave home so he could have the pleasures of the world.  
  • He was deceived and wanted something else.  But there was nothing else! 
  • He soon found out that the situation out there was not as good as it was at home.
  • Often Christians feel they are missing  out on something in the world. 
  • Sometimes they feel they are losing out on money, sex, glamour and so on. 
  • Apart from the love of Christ,  if you have any other love in you, you need to be careful of it. 
  • If you have any strange lusts in you, you must kill them now, or they will grow up and take over your life.
  • A baby snake in my garden may lookvery much like an ordinary worm but it is definitely a snake.   
  • If I don’t quickly  kill it, one day it could kill you.
  • It is too dangerous to leave it alive. You must kill it before it kills you. 
  • That is how we must deal with some of those loves, lusts and desires lurking within us.
  • Deal with them like you would deal with a small  snake.  Kill them now, that they are small and harmless. 
  • If you allow them to grow and to develop, they will destroy you one day.

2.    Develop steadfastness by not lusting after the things in this world.

  • . . . and the LUSTS of other things entering in, choke the word,andit becometh unfruitful. Mark 4:19
    • To lust after something is to have a strong, excessive desire  for something. 
    • Usually it is an uncontrollable, sometimes obsessive desire for a particular thing. 
    • One dictionary calls ‘lust’ an animal desire. 
    • Be careful  of all forms of lust, whether it’s financial lust, sexual lust or power lust.
    • Lust corrupts and destroys good things.
  • Lust for anything apart from God’s Word is dangerous.   
  • It can ruin your life because you will sacrifice so many things to get what you want. 
  • There are Christians who will sacrifice anything to ride in a Mercedes Benz that they cannot afford
  • They will steal, cheat and lie to own one. 
  • Such believers have a strong desire to have some material possession, and they will do all they can to have it.
  • This strong overpowering desire is what God calls lust and  lust is dangerous!  
    • There are many Christian ladies who have such strong desires to marry that they will sacrifice all principles and all the rules in order to get married.
  • It destroys. The spoiling of your life will come through your lusts.  
  • The destroying of your happiness will come through your lusts. 
  • The Bible says you have escaped the corruption that came into the world through lust
  • . . .  having escaped the corruption that is in the world through  lust. 2 Peter 1:4
  • Corruption has come into the world through lust.
  • Governments are destroyed and corrupted through their lusts.
  • Governments are often corrupt because of officials who have strong desires to acquire certain possessions. 
  • These officials take bribes in exchange for illegal favours.  
  • They also receive gifts and handouts in exchange for signing bogus contracts that ruin the economies of entire nations.  
  • Lust (strong desires) corrupts people, governments and nations.

3.   Develop   steadfastness   by   having a proper   fear   of judgment.

  • For we must all appear before the judgment  seat of Christ;  that every one may receive  the  things  done in his body, according to that  be hath done, whether it  be good or bad.  KNOWING  THEREFORE THE TERROR OF THE LORD, WE PERSUADE MEN…2 Corinth 5:10-11
  • In  every school, there are always  two types of students.
  • There are those who are always conscious of the coming examinations. 
  • Others are carefree and unconcerned about upcoming tests.
  • It is those who have a proper fear of examination who do well in school
  • When you have no fear of judgment or examinations,  you live anyhow and stray from the path of righteousness.  
  • It is important to have a proper fear of God’s judgment so that you will be steadfast and unmoveable from the path of life.
  • I have heard Christians say that God will never punish them.
  • They quote, “For God so loved the world… “. 
  • They argue that since God loves the world so much He will not destroy them.
  • They say, “I know God will forgive me.”  
  • Because of this they add sin to sin without batting an eyelid.
  • God’s nature is like two sides of a coin.  
  • One side of the coin shows the head, and the other side shows the tail.
  • One side of God’s character shows His great love, and the other side shows His judgment.
  • A Christian sister spoke of a woman who was having an affair with her best friend’s husband.  
  • Because the two ladies were good friends they would often speak on the phone. 
  • Every time this adulteress put the phone down, she would sigh and say, “O God,  forgive me for what I’m doing.” 
  • Strangely, she continued having the affair with her friend’s husband.
  • Some people feel that God will not punish them. 
  • That is why they continue in sin.
  • When God shows you one side of His character you will see love, forgiveness and mercy of the highest order. 
  • God will forgive and forget your sins.  
  • But a time will come when God will show you the other side of His nature; which is judgment, justice, fairness, equity and jurisprudence. 
  • These are the two sides of God’s nature. 
  • We are now in the dispensation of grace. God is showing you mercy and love. 
  • Think about all the wicked sins you have committed, but still receive His forgiveness. 
  • At a certain point, the Spirit of the Lord will not strive with man anymore.  
  • God has to judge you; otherwise there will be chaos in the Kingdom.
  • The king by judgment establisheth  the land …Proverbs 29:4
  • God loves you so much that He will punish you when He has to in this world just so you do not spend eternity in hell

4.   Develop steadfastness by not being over-confident.

  • An over-confident person is someone who has too much trust in his  own strength and abilities. 
  • It is dangerous to be over-confident as a Christian. 
  • Being too confident in your righteousness and in your own spirituality is a bad sign.
  •  . . .Let  him  that   THINKETH  HE  STANDETH  take heed lest he fall. 1 Corinthians 10:12
    • If you regard yourself or your position in Christ as fool proof, you are in danger of straying from the right path.
    • I have heard some Christians boast about their abilities.
    • This is over confidence. 
  •  It reminds me of a particular brother in this   church who would regularly boast   and say: ” They would have to shoot him out of this Church; I will never leave Christ’s Love Ministries some would say.” 
    • They would  speak about their loyalty and  commitment to me and to the church with such conviction.
    • But many of them including Pastors , have  walked out of the church and never returned.
    • When a Christian continues to boast about his strength, Satan hears him and decides to test him.
    • Where you are over-confident is where you can be the weakest, because you have dropped your guard.
    • You can also tell that a Christian is over-confident by the way he talks about the weaknesses of others.
    • I have heard Christians criticize others as though they could never make mistakes
    • You need to be humble; otherwise one day you will find yourself in the same shoes, much to your own surprise.
    • Galatians 6:1-5
  • Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.For every man shall bear his own burden.Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto
    • Staying on the right track is largely by the grace of God, and not by your own strength.
    • When David heard that Saul was dead, he didn’t ridicule him or rejoice over his death.
    • David could have lashed out at Saul and criticized him at that time. 
    • He could have taken the opportunity to talk about how Saul had been disobedient and stubborn. 
    • He could have discussed what led to Saul’s downfall.  
    • Instead he declared,
    • Tell it  not  in  Gath, publish it  not in the  streets of Askelon… 2 Samuel 1 :20
    • Although David did not have a problem with stubbornness and disobedience, he did not venture to denounce his predecessor because of his weaknesses. 
    • We must all learn something from this example.  
    • Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall!

5.  Develop steadfastness by not being hard and stubborn.

  • Better is  a poor and a wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished. Ecclesiastes 4:13
  • If  you  know  a stubborn Christian who does  not heed  to counsel, you are looking at someone who can stray from the paths of righteousness.  
  • I have counselled many Christians who never change their lifestyles in spite of all that is said to them.  
  • They are bent on doing their own thing.  Everybody needs advice.
  • The Bible says there is safety in the multitude of counsel.
  • I remember counselling many a young ladies not to continue in a certain unhealthy relationship.   
  • If a man is womaniser, the question to ask yourself is   “What makes you different from the other girls he has thrown away? 
    • Maybe the only difference between you and the others is that you are new to him.  
    • But one day you will become ‘old’ just like the others. And he will then throw you away.” 
    • Usually such sinners just continue to follow the love of her life! The lust of the flesh is their god
    • Is there anybody who was mightily blessed by God although he was stubborn and rebellious? 
    • Never!  Stubbornness to God, to His Word, to His pastors and to biblical counsel is a sign that you will stray away from the right path.

6.   Develop steadfastness by not looking back at the world.

  • To be steadfast you must learn never to look back. In Genesis 19, we can study the testimony of Lot and his wife. 
  • Two angels were sent to Lot and his family in Sodom and Gomorrah.   Their message was simple:
  • … Escape for thy life, LOOK NOT BEHIND THEE … lest thou be consumed. Genesis 19:17
  • But the Bible declares that Lot’s wife looked back and became a pillar of salt.
  • Jesus also reminds us of the terrible mistake that Lot’s wife made as she was escaping from Sodom and Gomorrah.
  • She was the only member of the family who looked back at her past. 
  • We can liken this to believers who backslid because they kept looking back at the world and all it had to offer.
  • As born again believers, God has delivered all of us from sin, and it is important that we do not look back.
  • A certain  lady once  stood before a Christian group to testify.  
  • She happily recounted what she had done as an unbeliever:
  • “I used to go out with many men.  They would pick me up to party with me at nightclubs and discos.  
  • I danced all night with them. It was great.”  She said. With great excitement in her voice.
  • She told the Christians: “I travelled all over the world with them.
  • We really had a good time.” Then her voice dropped and she sadly said, “But I got saved, and here I am in church.”
  • To her, salvation was rather the “bad” thing that happened to her.
  • It was as though being saved was an unfortunate experience.
  • This woman was looking back to the expensive cars, the expensive restaurants and the “good” times she had had as an unbeliever.
  • If you keep on thinking and remembering your past sinful life with nostalgia, you will tum into “a pillar of salt”!
  • Mathew 5:13
  • Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
  • I am looking ahead, and I intend to go forward with God’s work. 
  • As an academic  doctor in full-time ministry, I could look back and consider becoming a professor. 
  • There are times when I think it would be nice to try other things and earn some money with my degrees.
  • But thank God for the Holy Spirit constant help and guidance and most especially for the grace to keep my eyes on Jesus Christ. 
  • I am going forward, preaching, teaching and planting churches wherever the Lord would lead me. 
  • I have no intention of going back.
  • If there is a longing in your heart to go backwards or to look backwards, cry out to  the Lord and ask Him to help you “kill” that interest in the past. 
  • Let it die!   Be steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord!

7.   Develop steadfastness by allowing yourself to be corrected:

  • Reprove not a scorner,lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee. Proverbs 9:8
  • Constant correction will keep you steadily on the path of righteousness.  
  • We have come to Christ to learn new things and have a better life.
  • You must be open for correction in every aspect of your life.  Every aspect of your life is linked to the other. 
  • This is why you need correction in almost every area of your life.
  • God will raise up pastors who will correct you in every area of your life. 
  • Please do not be angry when you are corrected in your behaviour, your domestic life, your spiritual life and your school life.
  • Any believer who gets angry at correction must be watched closely. 
  • A wise man will be happy at correction because he will think through it and realize that he is being helped.  Often the truth is painful. 
  • When Jesus told the crowd in John 8:44 “Ye are of your father the devil…” they were offended.
  • On one occasion, Jesus addressed Peter and said to him, “Get thee behind me, Satan.” Notice that Peter was not angry at being called Satan. 
  • After this rebuke, Peter went on to become the great man of God who preached to thousands!
  • A friend at school told someone who was  irritating him, “Satan, get thee behind me.”
  • This person was astonished, amazed and very offended at being called “Satan”. 
  • His reaction was very different from Peter’s!  I have never referred to anybody as Satan (although I have seen many people behave just like the devil).
  • I wonder what would happen if I dared to correct someone by referring to him as Satan? He would probably explode in anger!
  • Better is  a poor and a wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished. Ecclesiastes 4: 13
  • God gave us fathers and mothers to correct and advise us. You should thank God if your parents are alive. 
  • There are many people who  do not have strong fathers to guide them.  
  • Such people often go astray. 
  • Those who do not have good parents to guide and correct them are at a disadvantage.  Correction will help you stay on track so do not be angry at correction!

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