What Does It Mean to Be Steadfast?
Bible Text: Isaiah 26:3 | Speaker: Dr. Harold J. Sala | Series: Guidelines For Living | You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3
Have you ever had one of those times when all of a sudden something that you’ve read a thousand times jumps out at you, and you then see something that has been there all along and it just hadn’t grabbed you before? That’s part of the reason that you can study the Word of God for a lifetime and never exhaust the depth of the truth that is there. For example, the King James text of Isaiah 26:3 says, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee” (Isaiah 26:3). OK, I memorized that a hundred years ago—or it seems that long ago–and I often quote it to myself, especially when life gets as jumbled as the agitator in a washing machine, and you are bothered by so many things that you really lose your focus and feel like settling a few scores the old way. Then you say, “Whoa! Peace comes through focusing on God.”
Then I noticed that the NIV translates the verse, “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” “OK,” I asked myself, “What does that word really mean? Here’s what I discovered. The Hebrew word is camak, and it means “to lean upon” something or “to take hold” of something. Synonyms are “rest your self upon,” or “sustain yourself.”
Ah! A bit of light, like the rays of the sun shining through an open door, began to shine into my soul, and I got a new picture. What Isaiah was telling us is that perfect peace is the reward of steadfast, unwavering trust in God. It means we lean completely upon Him. We have the confidence that no matter how chaotic the circumstances of our lives, God will take us through the storm. That means we stand fast in the confidence that God is enough, that He is powerful enough, that He cares enough, and that He will take us through the storm.
Actually that same thought is found throughout the entire Bible. I often autograph books and add the words Paul wrote to the Philippians from a prison in Rome: “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). Same idea!
Starting to get the picture! Steadfast describes the person who doesn’t focus on the darkness of the difficulty, the gloom of the circumstances, nor the discouragement of your feelings which say, “God doesn’t care about you. You’re just not good enough to get His attention. You are strictly on your own, buddy!”
Steadfast describes you when you take the attitude of Isaiah, who later wrote, “But my work all seems so useless! I have spent my strength for nothing and to no purpose at all. Yet I leave it all in the Lord’s hand; I will trust God for my reward” (Isaiah 49:4). There is a peace which the world doesn’t understand, which is the result of steadfastly trusting God.
Steadfast is the attitude you have when you say, “No matter what my feelings tell me, or how dark the circumstances, I will put myself in the Lord’s hands and trust Him.” That’s when your heart is filled with peace.
If you find you’ve been wavering between the upward look and the asphalt at your feet, back away from the chaos, find a quiet place and refocus. Remind yourself that God hasn’t abandoned you, that He knows your name and telephone number, and that in His time He will deliver you and show you His strength. Now get up and start moving— that’s what being steadfast is about.
Resource reading: James 5