steadfastness. a heart guarded by armor, a head steeled by salvation

I want steadfastness of my soul, more than a plucky disposition, more than a resolute resolve, more than a face like flint….

I desire all of these in a quieted soul: spirit that eagerly looks up in trustful love, a soul that has eternal joy rooted down deep.

here are some good thoughts from a recent post on the Desiring God blog by Jonathan Parnell…

“So we love journey for the thrill, not where it’s taking us. We are here and there and back tohere, so wrapped up in what’s happening that we’ve made tomorrow colorless. We’ve bleached our future with an indulgence in present busyness. I mean, let’s face it: we would prefer to thumb through our Twitter feed than give two solid minutes to imagining the new Jerusalem. And that ain’t right.

It’s movement without a destination that Esolen says has eroded the virtue of steadfastness. Because we’ve forgotten where we’re going we can’t be steadfast where we are. We’d rather just change than devote ourselves to “this place, this work, this spouse, this land.”

But this so contrary to the church’s character we find in Scripture. Read Hebrews. These saints who have gone before us, whose faith we’re called to model, sought a homeland. They desired a better country. They looked to the city that is to come. The picture of their faith brings us back to reality. It points us to God. He is a God who can be trusted. A God who cannot lie. A God who does not change. A God who is the designer and builder of a new creation — a new creation we hope in simply because this God is its designer and builder.

The verdict is settled on this one: looking towards our future home affects how we live now. It exudes a staying power. Knowing that we have a better possession and an abiding one launches us into radical ministry here. The incomparable glory that is to come gives us perseverance in our sufferings here. And this is what boggles the world’s mind. You want to take my property? Fine. You want to take my life? Death is gain. The blaze of this steadfastness is fueled by the air of a better country, that is, a heavenly one.

So “be steadfast, immovable,” Paul tells us. Stick to it. Abound in your work. Gaze upon what is to come, and hold fast today.

But don’t do it as an attempt to recover a slipping virtue. There’s a better motive: namely, God.

It’s that God is the same, and God is enough. The joy of his Revelation 22:4presence is a joy that has broken into our lives now. Jesus has suffered, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, now. Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through Jesus, now. Indeed, we have fellowship with the Father and with his Son, now.

The main continuity between this world and the next — the continuity that makes us steadfast — is joy in God. Though one day sin will be gone, and all things made new, God will never be more our God than he is right now in Jesus. He is our Father, our Dad. We call him that now and we will call him that then. And he is enough, so much enough for us. He is. The fullness of his name will satisfy our hearts with a pleasure that mutes the tyranny of compulsive mobility. And therefore, we’ve calmed and quieted our souls. We’ve been weaned from all the movement. We know how to stay because we know where we’re going. The God there is the God here.”

I’ve been reading (somewhat sporadically honestly) through Ephesians. My heart’s been filled up by armor talk. Feeling difficultly swamp my soul as I reflected on past failure on my way back around the block from my short run today, I was crying out for help. My inhaler (gift of God) and my Bible helped me breathe a bit easier.

” Finally, be strong in the Lord(M) and in his mighty power.(N) 11 Put on the full armor of God,(O) so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,(P) but against the rulers, against the authorities,(Q) against the powers(R) of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.(S)13 Therefore put on the full armor of God,(T) so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist,(U) with the breastplate of righteousness in place,(V) 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.(W) 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith,(X) with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.(Y) 17 Take the helmet of salvation(Z) and the sword of the Spirit,(AA) which is the word of God.(AB)

18 And pray in the Spirit(AC) on all occasions(AD) with all kinds of prayers and requests.(AE)With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying(AF) for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me,(AG) that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly(AH)make known the mystery(AI) of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador(AJ) in chains.(AK)Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.”

I think of His righteousness placed on me and I am freed! My bonds are loosed, and I am free to run after the prize today, in His will today.

I can’t muster up a happy disposition longer than an hour at most. I can’t look to the future in this flesh called “Katelyn” and expect to maintain an optimistic perspective. Some people were gifted that way. I am not. It is here I need His strength in me to give me “manna” of Him in joy today, expecting the working in me He has promised to complete. It is His work, not mine. I simply show up.

I show up to interviews, with this righteousness, this salvation protecting my heart, protecting my head. I pray for the power to stand firm on the rock, to take one day of grace at a time, swallowing deep.

Just about one year ago I was on my way to Ireland, full of fear, excitement, and unknown expectations. There has been so much in the time since then. God has been faithful and true through all of it. I’m so thankful that He cannot lie. He sings over me as I sleep, He hears every prayer turned to him in humble submission, He knows my heart cry and what I need. He is my intercessor, my High Priest, the One who stewards me.  He is my Creator, Beloved, Provider, Confidant, and Keeper of all my thoughts.  His battle over death, sin and Satan is a magnificent victory, and He longs for this princess-warrior to live under his glory-flag.

And…all my job is to show up in thanksgiving (which is Spirit-driven power), and a spirit that grace-fully draws low in love.

How beautiful is that!?

Psalm 27:14 (KJV)
 Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

One Comment Add yours

  1. ericalpowell says:

    This is beautiful. I have always appreciated your wisdom friend.

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