“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15:58) Steadfastness is an essential principle in Christian character. There can be no success nor prosperity in the Christian life when this principle is wanting. The Psalmist said, “[My] heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD.” (Psalm 112:7) This is true steadfastness. It is cleaving to God, let the storms rage as they may. It is resting and abiding in Jesus though the trials of life may be the severest possible. It is firm, fixed, settled decision to abide in doctrines of the Bible. It is to rest confidingly upon the teaching and promises of the Holy Scriptures. Just as a man lies confidently down to rest upon his bed, so a Christian, in his steadfastness, rests confidingly, rests without fear, upon the never-changing Word of God.
Through Jesus Christ, Christians are made partakers of the divine nature. They receive the imprint of divine character in their souls. Among the different principles in the character of God is found steadfastness. When God delivered Daniel from the lions, Darius the king said, “I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and steadfast forever.” (Daniel 6:26) Just as Christian fortitude is noble, manly, and pleasing to God, so lack of steadfastness is ignoble, unmanly, and highly displeasing to God.
Some (it may be many) are led by their feelings. We, as the children of God, are to be led by the Spirit of God; but not all fully understand what is meant by “being led by the Spirit.” I would rather be led by a sense of duty than by my feelings. I do not understand that in order to be led by the Spirit we need always to have a strong inward impression or almost audible voice speaking to us. The Spirit of God has illuminated the Word and enlightened your mind to know what is your Christian duty, hence when you go forward and discharge your duties faithfully, you are truly being led by the Spirit. You know it to be your duty to help the poor, to support the weak, to comfort the sorrowful, to attend religious services, to witness for Jesus, to study the Scriptures, to pray, and diligently to follow every good work. You may sometimes feel a strong impression to pray, but you do not need to have this feeling always in order to be duty-bound to pray. It is your duty to pray, to give of your means, etc., oftentimes just as much when you do not feel impressed to do so as when you have strong inward impressions. You do not need to wait for such impressions before you act, for a knowledge of your duty makes you responsible.
A man can have no true steadfastness who is influenced by his emotions or impressions. The man who is steadfast, unmovable in the Word, goes forward to a discharge of his known duties, no matter what his feelings may be. Whatever may be his impressions to do a certain thing, if it is not consistent with the Word and the Spirit and his knowledge of right, he persistently refuses to obey. How the true principle of steadfastness abides in the will of God and the doctrines of Christ is demonstrated in the teachings of Barnabas to the church at Antioch. There was some contention in the church over circumcision, and heavy persecutions from without, and many were being moved from the true faith. Barnabas exhorted that with purpose of heart they cleave to the Lord. Steadfastness is a firm, fixed purpose of the heart to cleave unto God, to attend strictly and promptly to every Christian duty. It is a decided, unchangeable, unshaken purpose of the heart to obey implicitly the teachings of the Savior, regardless of the feelings.
You will find that, if you attend to every Christian duty, you will often have to go contrary to your feelings. How often the enemy of your soul will, if he can, cast indifferent feelings over you concerning prayer. That is the time to show your Christian fortitude and steadfastness. It is weakness and laziness to neglect prayer simply because we do not feel inclined to pray. To yield to indifferent feelings is to encourage them, and they will grow stronger and stronger, so that we shall feel less and less inclined to pray. The more we pray, the more prayerful we feel; likewise, the less we pray, the less prayerful we feel. When we have yielded to indifferent feelings for some time and have sadly neglected prayer, we have a hard struggle to get through to the glorious light and victory and sweetness. But you must get out where the blessings fall; you must get where you have sweet tastes of love and the satisfying blessings of the presence of God. You must be courageous, manly, and decided. The way to enjoy serving God and doing our full Christian duty is always to do our duty and especially at those times when doing it seems to be the least enjoyable.
Steadfastly resist Satan and every indifferent feeling, and do your duty at any cost. Remember, it is not he that feels to do good and doeth it not, but “he that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17)