In today’s sermon, I want to take a look at the saying, keep on keeping on. What do you believe this saying means? When I was little, I used to hear the old folks say this, but I feel it’s a saying that we can still live by today. My thought for today comes from just one verse out of 1 Corinthians 15; it reads:

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

1 Corinthians 15:58 NKJV

After I preached this sermon, my uncle said to me, “I wasn’t quite sure where you were going with [this sermon] when we read our responsive reading this morning.” This passage of scripture is very familiar because many preachers read from this passage (1 Corinthians 15:50-57) at funerals. However, tucked into this passage of scripture is a verse right at the end of this chapter that I referenced near the end of last week’s sermon.

In last week’s sermon, you will recall that I said we must be resolute and steadfast in our walk of faith down the narrow path. (Resolute is a word that is synonymous with being steadfast.) In other words, we should be fully convicted in our faith! My key verse for today is a scripture that has me fully intrigued, I must admit; it is one of those scriptures that I would call a “bumper sticker” scripture. By that, I mean that we have all seen or heard this scripture before at some point in time in our life. Most people are familiar with the phrase, “be steadfast in your faith”. However, I feel that not many of us have a great understanding of what the writer, Paul, mean when he says this. Why do I say this?

To me, it seems that the idea of being resolute or steadfast in our faith is somewhat confused nowadays. What I mean by this is that, often times, we say one thing about our faith but we go out and do a totally different thing – this works at odds against our faith. For example, we will say, “I am ‘steadfast’ (resolute) in my faith”, but then, “in our faith” we try to outrun God to a blessing that God is going to give to us at His desired time! I say to you, nothing seems resolute about this kind of faith! In another example, we will say, “I am ‘standing firm’ in my faith,” but then, “in our faith” we fold up like a lawn chair as soon as we are tested (tried) in our faith! Again, I say to you, nothing seems resolute about this kind of faith.

We don’t really have a good grasp on what it means to be resolute. To be resolute means to be firm, but some of us take this firmness to a level that becomes plain old stubbornness and I tell you that is not a good level to be at in your faith. Today’s “resolute man” is very stubborn in “his way”. Today’s “resolute man” is so stubborn that he’ll argue even when he knows he’s in the wrong! Yes, we should certainly be steadfast (resolute) in our faith, but I tell you that we ought not to be like this man. How firm should we be in our faith?

Setting our firmness

I had to come up with something that’s firm that could help me with describing how our firmness should be in our faith because this can be a somewhat confusing thing to talk about. At first, I was going to use grits for an example but not everybody eats grits so it would be hard for some to understand the comparison. However, all of us know something about mattress firmness and so we will put this to use to compare to our steadfastness in faith. There are many different types of mattresses, but I am only going to use 3 common types of firmness.

Some people like their mattresses to have very little firmness – they like their mattresses to be soft. I find those mattresses to not be a very good sleeping experience for myself, but I do realize that some people love to sleep on a very soft bed. However, I tell you that while a soft bed may be pleasant to sleep on, for some, our faith cannot be this soft. This is how some end up folding like a lawn chair when they are tested (tried) in their faith – there’s no firmness. Soft faith is absolutely no good.

Some people like their mattresses to be extremely firm – nearly as hard as a rock! I find these mattresses to also not be a very good sleeping experience, but I do realize that some people love sleeping on cement. I must tell you while sleeping on a mattress that feels like cement may be pleasant to sleep on for some, our faith cannot be this firm unless we are standing up to the devil. You see, we read this scripture and we see, “be immovable” and we will take this part to an extreme. The problem with this firmness in faith is that not only do you push away Satan but you will also push away everybody else!  Consider all of the stubborn people in your life or those that you have met, and think about whether or not you preferred dealing with them?  I don’t believe many of us like dealing with extremely stubborn people.

Lastly, some people like for their mattress to be firm but not as hard as a rock. Some people like for their mattress to be soft, but not so soft that they’ll sink through the mattress – these mattresses are just right. I find these mattresses to be the best for me to sleep on. I also feel that our faith should match this kind of firmness. You see, this firmness allows us to fight off conforming or following after the way of Satan, but it also is a firmness that is welcoming to others. One of the biggest issues I have noticed with the local church is that there some church-goers who have become so resolute that they have become too resolute – too firm.

We can’t become so resolute in our faith that we become unwelcoming to those who need us for help, and to those who could actually offer us some help. I feel that this is a good lesson spiritually and for life. Yes, we must keep on keeping on – fighting the good fight of faith – but we cannot fight this good fight all by ourselves. We must understand that, while we are indeed special in God’s eyes, we are also not the only ones that the Lord blesses! Some of us get too caught up in this and a faith that is all inclusive becomes “my faith” and not a faith for others – that’s dangerous. The thing about this faith is that it actually is reliant on that of others because we are supposed to be a body of believers working together (Romans 12:5).

Therefore, we must model our firmness after that of Jesus Christ. I want you to notice that Jesus was very steadfast in His faith but also very welcoming. Jesus stood up to Satan when He was tempted in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). However, Jesus was also willing to sit down with those that Pharisees considered unworthy because the Pharisees thought them to be sinners. You see, Jesus was very welcoming to those who were not like Him – the sinner – because He knew that He could help the sinner.

For us, the believer especially, I feel we must be welcoming to absolutely everybody – especially those seeking help or those who can help us to grow spiritually. You see, we can’t be so stubborn that we close people off because of how they dress. My dad would always say, “you never know who you will need to help you one day” – boy is that true. The Christian faith is about growth – becoming a better person – I tell you that we can’t do that by ourselves. We learn from one another. We need each other to keep pushing one another, especially in these times.

Solomon said (Proverbs 4:7), that wisdom is the principal thing. He also said (Proverbs 12:15) that the wise heeds counsel. I referenced those scriptures because I have realized over the years that the older people would say, “keep on keeping on” to help lift up the spirit of their fellow neighbor. We are missing this terribly today.  We don’t edify one another as we should. We can’t be so stubborn, so firm in “our faith” that we refuse helpful counsel.

The steadfast (resolute) faith in God is a faith that is continuous in its devotion to doing the work of God. This work, I tell you, includes spiritual growth which we can help each other to do. “The bad people are extremely persistent,” is what Ms. Tara Dowdell tweeted the other day. She also said in that tweet, “good people have to be even more persistent” – which I feel is a great description of “keep on keeping on”. We must be more persistent than those who are willing to do bad – we cannot do this if we are too busy being a stumbling block to those who could help grow the faith as well.

To you, I say, that we must keep on being persistent in outgrowing the limits of this world. We must keep on being persistent in even outgrowing the limits of our mind. Too often we end up limiting and short-changing ourselves – we become our worst enemy. For the believer, the goal in this life is for us to understand the will and the way of the Lord (Ephesians 5:17). Yes, our faith must be steadfast but Paul did not mean that you should no longer move on anything when you become a believer. Some of us join the church and we think that’s the end – no, there’s still work that must be done!

I feel that we become better people when we can strive to understand the Lord’s way. I feel that we become better people when we strive to be fully devoted to His way. However, if don’t keep on keeping on – we limit ourselves. If we don’t keep on keeping on, we even limit those closest to us – we let them down. If we don’t keep on keeping on, in fighting the good fight of faith, who wins in the end? I tell you today, keep on keeping on, my brothers and sisters in Christ.


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