At the beginning of the year, I chose a word for the year: Steadfast. I had heard the word in my head for a while, and I thought it meant that I had to stay the course, be firm, immovable. This was an excellent word. It was a good intention too. I could place myself in this direction and keep moving forward on the projects that I had started.
Websters defines steadfast as firmly fixed in place, immovable; not subject to change. I thought I wanted to be steadfast in my life. So, this was my word. I thought God was telling me to adhere to my commitments and the path he had created for me.
Isn’t that a great focus for a year? I thought so. I was beginning to think of all the ways that I could be immovable. I could build my faith and be faithful. I could read my Bible daily and do good works as much as possible – nothing would set me off course. I could write my book and lean on God to keep me going. I could be a good mother and wife.
The list was long. I gave it my best shot, put together schedules, and built habits. I read books and learned new things. I tried to serve my husband better and complain less. I made decisions and prayed and asked God for guidance. I was determined.
Then out of the blue, a couple weeks ago, almost halfway through the year, I realized there’s another perspective that I hadn’t considered. I was driving along, listening to the radio, and running errands. Then, a song came on, and the lyric spoke directly to my heart.
“You have proven; You’ll do just what You said; Though the storms may come; And the winds may blow, I’ll remain steadfast” (Maverick City Music, Promises). Check it out HERE; I’ve added it to a playlist HERE. It’s a great song.
Suddenly, I realized it was not me who was supposed to learn HOW to be steadfast. It was not for me to become steadfast. It’s not even possible for me to reach that level; I’m not good enough for that.
I did realize that Jesus is steadfast and that God is steadfast. In every storm, need, hardship, and fearful situation, I can rely on the fact that I am a protected daughter in the Kingdom. I needed to learn to remember in the hard times that God remains faithful to me. He has promised never to leave me, to go before me, to protect me.
One of my favorite stories in found in 2 Kings. The setting is the middle of a war and Elisha was a man of God who was obtaining information about the other side because he was connected to God. The other side found out about him, found him, and then decided to kill him so they could win the war. He wakes up and hundreds of troops are surrounding him and his assistant. His assistant freaks out and asks what to do.
“Don’t be afraid!” Elisha told him. “For there are more on our side than on theirs!” Then Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes and let him see!” The Lord opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire. 2 Kings 6:16-17 NLT. Sometimes, we forget that God has promised to guide us, protect us, and love us. He chose Elisha, and he chose us as well. He will protect us no less than he protected Elisha. When we open our eyes, we have more on our side than what is coming against us.
I needed to learn that God has good things in store for me even though I have suffered on this earth. In fact, Jesus said that we would experience hard things in life, but he has the victory. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV.
He says he came to give us abundant life. “The thief does not come except to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10 NKJV. He tells us there is real evil in this world, but he plans that we will have more than what we need or expect.
I needed to learn that I should accept the good and the bad, the way that Job did. When his wife told him to curse God, “Job replied, “You talk like a foolish woman. Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?’ So in all this, Job said nothing wrong.” Job 2:10 NLT. It is not wrong to question why things are hard or why the world is so messed up. It’s not wrong to feel pain when we look at those in need. Even Jesus did that. He did more, though, and he let it push him to action.
So for the second half of the year, I am adjusting my focus to the steadfast God that I know is in heaven. I will change my focus from myself and my works to the good works Jesus did on the cross. He is the steadfast rock. He will not fail us or leave us alone.
“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against the house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.” Matthew 7:24-25 NLT.
How do we do listen and follow? First, we have to know what he taught. That means reading the Bible. The New Testament begins with Jesus’ teachings. Then the books after that are primarily letters explaining what Jesus meant by many of the things he said. So, if we read and understand, then we can follow.
Reading is like laying in a foundation. Building the house is what flows from following Jesus’ teachings. We replace bad habits with good ones – maybe that’s putting in the studs. We pay attention in church and learn more about what Jesus said – maybe that’s putting on the roof. We join a bible study or church group – maybe that’s putting on the drywall. We begin to pray and ask for direction in decisions we make in our life – perhaps that’s the finishing touches on the house.
Doing one thing alone isn’t enough. Reading the bible isn’t enough. Jesus called the Pharisees and the leaders hypocrites and white-washed tombs. They knew what was right and wrong, but they didn’t follow it. They laid the foundation but never built the house. We have to build the house to be safe when the storms come. It’s not possible to build a house in the middle of the storm. If we don’t have the house, we’re going to take a beating.
It’s the same with life. Things are hard, and we know that there will be storms. Emergencies aren’t a surprise. In fact, Jesus promised us there would be storms. He also promised that we’d weather the storms when we follow his instructions. So we have to do the building when the weather is good so that when the storm comes, the house will be there and we’ll know what to do when it gets there.
Choosing a Bible is an individual decision. The version and the type of Bible that you buy matters. The KJV is more difficult to understand but it’s more poetic. The NIV is a classic translation but the NLT is in plain, more modern language. The ESV is more precise than the others. Then there are Bibles with more notes and information (study Bibles) and there are devotional Bibles for Women, Men, teens, and children. There are hundreds of different types of Bibles.
Before purchasing, you can look through the various translations and see which fits you best. My favorite is the NLT because I find it the easiest to understand. You can compare the Bibles for no cost at www.Bible.com. You can also read it for free on any device that you own. I have the app on all my devices and a link on my computer. It has a great and robust search feature so you can find whatever you need.
If you like paper Bibles, check out the app to see which you like and then head over to Amazon to purchase one. I’ve purchased this Men’s Study Bible for some fellows in my life. I’ve purchased this Women’s Study Bible for myself and this Creative Bible too.
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What do you think, friend? What was your word for the year? Has your perspective changed on it? Are you setting a new intention for the second half of the year? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear from you. Also, if you like what you’ve read or if you want to keep up with the search for a good life with me, type your email below and you’ll receive new posts directly to your inbox. I don’t spam you or sell your email address. You can also follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube @LifeLoveRecovery. See you there!