“Stand firm in the one Spirit”
Do you fear that you might stop being a Christian? Paul’s great desire, as he writes to the Philippians, is that they would not drift away, but “stand firm”. But how? Here are five great ways NOT to stand firm:
1. Stop being taught
The only way to stay on a bike is to keep moving forwards. To keep trusting in Jesus is to keep growing in knowledge of him. A sure way to drift is not make church a priority; or possibly to come, and not listen; or to miss the teaching and not catch up with it. If we don’t grow, we drift.
2. Stop being changed
If a baby stops growing and changing, there are serious problems. And if we stop being affected by the Spirit of God through his Word, we are in grave danger too. It is all too easy to know the gospel, and become complacent about it, reaching a respectable plateau in our faith. We love to hear teaching - but it never does anything to us. So, what is the one issue God is challenging you to change in life right now? Best to get on and work at it.
3. Stop relating to God
Church life can become a cycle of events and programmes, entries in the diary, rather than a family relating together and to their Father. That can become bland, like taking vitamin pills and supplements, rather than enjoying fresh fruit and veg! Don’t lose the personal devotional life, which gives drive and purpose to the rest of church life.
4. Stop focussing on the main things
In a desire to dig deep into the Bible, it is easy to lose the wood for the trees. And all too many have become so obsessed with trivial details that they stop rejoicing in the glorious foundational truths of Jesus, his cross and resurrection, and all that flows from them. Don’t bother with ‘clever’ little details. They generally only cause divisions in church. As they say, ‘Keep the main thing the main thing.’
5. Stop looking to eternity
It’s hard to focus on something that you haven’t seen yet. But you do it when you’re about to go on holiday, right? As soon as we forget where we’re heading, our preservation, comfort and protection in this life become all important. We help ourselves every time we give up something now for the sake of then. Hardships now are a wonderful opportunity to remember what we’re really living for!