• Heidi J. Smith

What is the Secret to Steadfastness?

How can we be faithful in our relationships, responsibilities and to God?

The end of June would have been my parents' forty-sixth wedding anniversary. My parent's marriage weathered highs-and-lows, but they were faithful.

Last month my mother-in-law retired from forty plus years at her job. As a dedicated worker, she showed up rain or shine.

For over twenty years, my friend has lovingly cared for her child with special needs.

In my life, when roses grace my life, faithfulness is easy. But when thorns poke me, I struggle. I'm embarrassed to pen some of my doubts.

Why are so many bad things happening to me? God, do you really love me? God, haven't I been faithful to You so far? Doesn't that count for something? Have You forgotten about me? Why is marriage so much work? Why did my mom have to die? Why did my son get injured?

Yet, life has blessings and burdens, just like rosebushes grow both roses and thorns.

In the Bible, Daniel remained faithful to God throughout his life even though he lost his family, home, and identity.

When King Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem and carried Daniel and some Israelites back to Babylon, he changed their names, education, and diets. The King ordered royal food which was forbidden in the Jewish culture for the Israelites, but Daniel purposed to do right.

But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself." Daniel 1:8 ESV

About seventy years later, King Darius promoted Daniel to governor because he was honorable in every area (Daniel 6:3-4). Jealous men tricked King Darius into signing a law ordering people to pray only to him and not God. Anyone breaking the law would be thrown into the lions' den.

Knowing the new decree was signed and facing death, Daniel prayed "just as he had done before" (Daniel 6:10). Again he resolved to do right.

Would I have done the same? Am I willing to stand alone for what is right, or do I follow the crowd?

What is the secret to steadfastness?

Faithfulness starts with small choices (Luke 16:10).

It does the right thing even when no one is watching.

Commitment stands firm even though emotions sweep the culture (James 1:27).

It values purity and honor more than pleasure and shame.

Loyalty endures hardships rather than escapes (Proverbs 3:3; Isaiah 41:10).

It perseveres day after day.

Dedication reveres God (Lamentations 3:22-23; Proverbs 20:6).

It desires obedience regardless of emotions, people, and circumstances.

STEADFASTNESS is RESOLVING to DO the RIGHT THING one decision at a time.

Daniel's entire life emulated loyalty by purposing to please God daily.

Is my life characterized by faithfulness, or does my commitment sway based on my circumstances?

Lord, help me resolve to be steadfast during the rosy blessings and the thorny burdens. Please help me to be faithful in my responsibilities and relationships to You and others.

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Heidi J. Smith