“...be established in the present truth.” II Peter 1:12
Peter started by remembering the works of God from the past as a source of strength for the present. The Psalmist David used the same method as a tool for present strength. Remembering past trials, and knowing we survived by God’s grace, reminds us that today God is still sufficient.
“But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” (I Peter 5:10) Stablishment comes not by self determination, not by encouraging words, or doing good works, but by suffering. We need experiences to make us solid. And, we need not forget them. They are jewels that shine.
In the book, Hinds Feet on High Places, the author speak of small stones and gems the traveller collects along the journey. Each one was a remembrance of a lesson learned or a trial passed. We, too, have travelled down the path of life and no doubt remember places of suffering and trial. These are tokens of God’s grace and involvement in our lives. They give credibility when we seek to strengthen and comfort others. Rehearsing them increases our faith and stablishes us in the present truth – “God is able to make all grace abound unto you.” So that no matter what new affliction we face, we are stablished in the present truth because we see His faithfulness in our past. God is able!
Are you facing a trial today? Can you look back and draw strength from past experiences? Are you fearful of trials? Does your fear and worry reveal an un-established heart?
“…stablish your hearts…” James 5:8
Fix it. Make it fast. Let it be settled upon God’s Word, His promises and the facts of a life of faith.
Some things in life we just accept. The laws of nature do not change and we work with them and though we may not understand all about them, we are settled in the fact that they are right and good.
God’s law is another thing that we must accept. We don’t understand everything, but, for example, God’s law of sowing and reaping is a settled fact. His eternal, immeasurable, and unconditional love is another settled fact – a wonderful fact. By faith we can rest therein. And there are more…
A stablished heart knows that God is in control of nature and of the events of life. A stablished heart trusts solidly in the foundations of God’s Word and has ceased from the struggle to twist or alter to get it’s own way.
It knows, like the husbandman of James 5 that patient endurance and obedient yielding will produce the desired fruit. A stablished heart is a heart at rest with God and with self.
I once read in a devotion book, “The Rock of Ages does not move.” Wow! Now that is what you call stablished. Christ is stablished. He is settled. He is fixed and made fast. We can depend upon him. Though we might be swayed by the events of life, or struggle with rebellion, he does not. He knows truth, yea, he IS truth. And forever it is settled in the heavens.
Is your heart settled on these matters? Fixed? Made fast? Resting?
“….strengthen the brethren…” Luke 22:32
Don’t let this phrase throw you. The word translated “strengthen” is the same word, “establish”. Christ gave this instruction to Simon Peter just before the prophecy of the cock’s crowing and following Christ’s confirmation of prayer for Peter. In the midst of this pointed moment Christ told Peter what to do with the lesson he was about to learn – use it to strengthen (establish) the brethren.
And did he? Yes. At Pentecost we see a more solid Peter and we see brethren united and strong. They are stablished in their mission. They were fixed on their goals. No longer do we read of questioning disciples or men of little faith, but now they are going everywhere preaching the gospel.
It might not seem that Peter’s denial of Christ could have produced anything of value, yet later we see Christ taking time to strengthen him and challenge him with the three questions “Do you love me”. We can see that Christ, himself, was doing exactly what he had already instructed Peter to do. He was strengthening brother Peter. Peter’s trial of faith produced an established heart because Christ took the time to re-enforce the lesson. A stablished heart will stablish others for the glory of God and the furtherance of the gospel.
Are you carrying forward to others the lessons you have learned? Are you a source of strength to your fellow brethren? Can you see that your current trial will someday be for use to strengthen others?
“…stablish you in every good word and work…” II Thess 2:17
This is the work of Christ in our lives – to stablish us in good things. He calls us to the work and we are ordained to good works before the foundation of the world. II Thess 3:3 tells us that the Lord is faithful to stablish us and keep us from evil. I Thess 3:13 states he will stablish our hearts unblameable in holiness.
Holiness and purity are necessary to maintain good works. Word and work go together. James 3 spends several verses relating the power and danger of words that are unbridled. An unbridled tongue will undo good works.
We need to control our tongues so that they may be stablished in holiness and without evil. Note that in all three of the above references, II Thess 2:17, 3:3, and I Thess 3:13, it is God that does the work in stablishing us– oh, may we yield!”
Yielding is so necessary if Christ is to do His work in our lives. Resisting means that we will not be equipped to accomplish the word and work He has ordained for our lives. Resisting makes us unstable. Resisting places us in an awkward position – one of chastisement – not blessing.
What does your life and talk reveal about the work of Christ in your life? Do you actually do any good works? Is God at work in your life? Does your tongue reveal a lack of holiness in your life?
“sent...to establish you...” I Thess 3:2
Here Paul has sent Timothy to Thessalonica to aid in the establishing of these saints. They needed comfort, reassurance and instruction. It was Timothy’s mission to do this, just as Paul had written to the Romans in 1:11, he longed to go to them to the same end, and to impart spiritual gifts and comfort that would come by the sharing of faith.
God sends us people along the way that lift us up, that comfort us and even instruct us so that we may be stronger, more settled, established in our faith. Praise God for these people. They are not always preachers. Sometimes they are grandparents, church family, friends, schoolteachers, or even strangers. They speak a simple word, but God takes that and drives home truth to our hearts that takes root and grows for our benefit making us more established in our faith.
God uses us, too. We are all “sent” to aid in establishing each other. We are accountable to each other for the way we live our lives. We are the vessel of Christ – the messenger of encouragement, reassurance and instruction. We are His tools.
Upon whose life has God appointed you for influence? Are you using your influence wisely? Do you need to send a note of appreciation to someone who has been a godly influence on your path? Are you doing right by those God has placed in your path? Are you willing to be a tool in His hand?