Ray of Hope Shining on the Face of a Child

A daily devotion for March 26th

Stand Firm and Hold Fast

So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.

2 Thessalonians 2:15

More than anything, our generation of Christians needs to hear these words again. Paul is saying that we already have what it takes to do so. We need to draw upon the resources he has made available; to choose to live accordingly. Take God at his word! There is no reason to quit, or to give in to evil. When I hear Christians say, I couldn't help myself, I know they are deceiving themselves. Christians can help themselves; that's why God gave them the Holy Spirit.

I once heard of an Navajo Indian in Arizona on whose land oil was discovered. He became a very wealthy man, but wealth did not change him. He went on living just as he was before. The money piled up in the bank, but every now and then the old man would visit the bank and say to the banker, Crops all dried up; sheep all dead; cattle all stolen. The banker knew exactly what to do. He would take the old man into the vault, sit him at a table and place several bags of silver dollars in front of him for him to count. After a while the man would come out and say, Crops fine; sheep all alive; cattle all back. Why the change? He had simply reviewed his resources and reminded himself of what he had to fall back on.

That is how we stand firm when the pressure comes. When we feel like complaining, let us remember who God has made us to be, and what he has promised us for times of stress.

Second, hold fast! Hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. Paul is speaking of apostolic truth. Our New Testament comes to us from the apostles who heard the Lord Jesus, having been taught directly by him while he was still on earth. Teachings can also be translated traditions, but they are not the traditions of men. These are revelations of reality from the mind of God, who sees things absolutely the way they are; truths that were verbally imparted to people of the first century by the apostles, and which have come down to us by means of letters from their hands.

When we read and study the Word, we are maintaining the apostolic traditions delivered to men and women. It is impossible to stand firm unless we also hold fast the traditions. A church that begins to forsake apostolic truth soon falls into error and weakness. Churches today are filled with biblical illiterates. Not only do Christians think that an epistle is the wife of an apostle, and that Sodom and Gomorrah were lovers, but they do not even understand the doctrine of justification by faith, or the difference between the spirit and the flesh, or what the New Covenant means. Because they do not know these things, they are living continually under the domain of the evil one and doing his will, even though they are believers in Christ. Nothing takes the place of the Scriptures. Do not look into the Scriptures to find rules for how to live, but look into them to find Christ, our Refuge and Resource at all times.

Father, teach me to draw upon the wonderful resources you have put at my disposal through Christ.

Life Application

In what areas of your life do you need to strand firm, and in what areas do you need to hold fast?

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

Stand Firm

Listen to Ray