In all areas of life and ministry, we confront adversarial situations. As I read about and study the great heroes of faith, successful organizations, and entrepreneurs, I see a common thread. This common bond or thread as I see it is a twofold character trait. While each of these two facets are great qualities and can stand alone, together they solidify a man’s temperament and resolve. These two character traits are a stalwart belief and a steadfast faith.
Standing stalwart in your beliefs and steadfast in your faith will carry a man farther than skill, ability, or fortune. Those finding themselves in an adversarial position may not be able to rely on fortune, skill, or ability. The two elements that can be relied upon are belief in a successful outcome and a faith to carry on through the difficulty. One thought that may come to mind here is that the outcome might not be the “successful” outcome we perceive or desire. However, God’s ways are much greater than our ways and His thoughts higher than ours. Therefore, it is worthy to always look at the outcome and see it from God’s kingdom perspective.
One of the great men of faith from the first century is the apostle Paul. Reading some of the words of the apostle Paul from the New Testament gives us insight into a man who was both stalwart in belief and steadfast in his faith.
Five times I received from the Jews 40 lashes minus one.
Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned.
Three times I was shipwrecked. I have spent a night
and a day in the depths of the sea. On frequent journeys,
[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][I faced] dangers from rivers, dangers
from robbers, dangers from my own people, dangers
from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers
in the open country, dangers on the sea,
and dangers among false brothers; labor and hardship,
many sleepless nights, hunger and thirst, often without
food, cold, and lacking clothing. Not to mention other
things, there is the daily pressure on me: my care for all
the churches (2 Corinthians 11:24–28).
The apostle Paul suffered all these things, yet he always had words to share of his love and devotion to the God he served. Paul was stalwart in his journey, always pressing on, no matter what hardships he faced. He never stopped, suffering through all these things. Even after all this torture, pain, and hardship, Paul was found singing and praising God in prison, witnessing to the guards and writing letters of encouragement and training to the churches he had helped to start. He didn’t complain. Instead, in his own words Paul said, “I press on” (Philippians 3:14 NIV). Paul was stalwart in his belief and steadfast in his faith, never wavering.
God has promised He will never leave nor forsake you. He is with you every day, all day. Jesus, in the last words of the Great Commission, said, “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” (KJV). You have what it takes to build a stalwart belief and steadfast faith. Stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before so that you will be strengthened for the victory and your shoulders will be broadened for those who come after you.
This article is adapted from Reaching the Summit:, Essence Publishing, chapter 13, Stalwart & Steadfast and first appeared on this blog in 2014.
George Yates is the Church Health Strategist for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, assisting churches and individuals in pursuing God’s purpose for life. Learn more at ALSBOM.org/revitalization.
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