I was reading the daily lectionary today, a habit that I very badly need to get back in to (here’s to day one!). And there was a little something that popped out to me in a few of the passages:
“If you do not stand firm in faith, you shall not stand at all.” (Isaiah 7:9)
“For this purpose he called you through our proclamation of the good news, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by our letter.” (2 Thessalonians 2:14-15)
I thought it was interesting that the idea of standing firm showed up twice. It is certainly singing all kinds of notes in my life right now, but I think maybe the thing I heard the loudest from God is that standing firm isn’t the same thing as standing still. I want to stand firm for justice, but that means making a move toward bringing good news to the oppressed. I want to stand firm for my family, but that means making a move to being more present and providing for them. I want to stand firm with Jesus Christ, but that’s going to mean moving my feet in the rhythms of his grace.
Stand firm, but don’t stand still.
Of course celebrate the goodness of God’s faith. Of course hold fast to the traditions. But those traditions are calling us to bigger and better things all the time. I think a lot of Christians spend so much time standing up for their faith, “defending” their faith, standing firm, that they actually end up on some kind of spiritual treadmill: they’re doing a lot of work but they’re not really getting anywhere.
So my encouragement to us today is to get off the treadmill. Of course stand firm in the grace of Jesus Christ. Let it be the ground beneath your feet. But don’t stand still in that particular ground. When Jesus Christ is what you stand firm on, there’s a lot of ground to cover.