In Psalm 11:3, the question is asked, “if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?“
I’ve been wrestling with this one. The foundations of our country, of our world, seem to be crumbling. We are living in the last of the last days—when a Romans One society is in full swing, when God has given people over to their lusts and they are truly waxing worse and worse; deceiving and being deceived (2 Timothy 3:13).
Verse two in Psalm 11 is equally interesting,
behold, the wicked bend the bow; they have fitted their arrow to the string to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart
The wicked are bending their bow, shooting at the upright at heart?!
It makes sense when you see the attacks on God’s people from so many fronts. I’ve heard it said that the church is slowly dying a death from a thousand cuts. A thousand cuts to the heart of our calling, our efficacy as salt and light in this world. I feel the weakness, the waning strength. And I’m still crying out, Lord, what can the righteous do?!
What can we do? What can I do?
Come, spend a minute with me and be refreshed and encouraged by the Word—our source of Life! I believe God’s answer to this conundrum is clearly centered around the theme of patient endurance.
So what does that mean? What does it look like?
“I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name... Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown." - Revelation 3:8,10-11
We are known, Beloved. Our works are known. Our little strength is known. And Jesus’s call to this church is patient endurance, to hold fast to what you have. So I guess the question then becomes, what do we have?
And the answer…
We have the Holy Spirit, through Faith!
But the Helper [KJV says our Comforter], the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you(John 14:26).
It is a comfort to have the veil lifted and God’s words of life (John 6:68-69) at work in our hearts. Jesus said in John 4:14 that those who come to Him for living water will never be thirsty. His words will become in them an overflowing well springing up to eternal life! Living water, the breath of life that wells up within us.
Consider also the idea of fruit budding on an established tree. The fruits of the Spirit are life-giving in the midst of a dark and dying world. Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-Control. These, in increasing measure, are God’s gifts to nourish and sustain us as we tread the enemy-infested territory awaiting our eternal destination. They come by abiding in the Vine. Feeding on the Bread of Life. Resting in His perfect provision.
We have Freedom, Power, Love, and Self-Control
Having the Holy Spirit means access to power, love, and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7) in place of fear. It is human nature to fear, but it is heavenly nature to be free from fear. Those who abide in Jesus’s teachings know the truth, and the truth sets them free (John 8:31-32). There is nothing more freeing than being released from fear to walk fully by faith. Come what may…
Wait a second—even if what may come is arrows! Evil arrows and cold-heartedness (Matthew 24:12)!
Think about it. Our shield of faith (Ephesians 6:16) defends against enemy arrows. Shielded by faith we can stand unafraid. We can swing our Sword with confident assurance of the divine power at work on our behalf.
I believe it’s safe to say holding fast is related to James’ call to establish our hearts (James 5:8). And, equally, Paul’s description of being rooted, built up, and established in faith (Colossians 2:6-7). It’s this rooted strength that enables us to standfirm, yes even when having done all else, to stand (Ephesians 6:13).
The Encouraging Conclusion
So then, how do we hold fast and become rooted and established in faith?
Well, by having the word [of faith] near you, in your mouth and in your heart (Romans 10:8).
…faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. – Romans 10:17
Rooted in Christ Jesus (the Word!)—holding fast to Scripture above all else—we will surely be established in faith and able to stand.
If you’re wondering how any of this is done from a place of recognized lack, be encouraged! No human strength is required. Faith is activated within our will—our submission, our surrender. Faith declares, with complete assurance of our own lack, that our help comes from the Lord (Psalm 121:2)!
Yes, now more than ever! Firmly fixed on the Rock of our Salvation, looking up with eager anticipation, the righteous are still living as beacons of truth in a lost world. As vessels of God’s glory on display. Lacking strength and vitality from a human perspective, sure. But power-filled. Love-filled. Disciplined, and unafraid of the storms.
And there’s no better place to be than sheltered in the shadow of Almighty’swing… (Psalm 91:1-2)
Jesus told the church in Philidelphia that He has set before them an open door that no man can shut. Our salvation is sealed by faith. No man, no thing, can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39).
Our entrance to the throne of grace is unshuttable (not a word?? Let’s run with it…) It’s unseparateable (keep with me…) Our duty lies solely in laboring to keep His word and not deny His name. In other words, holding fast to faith.
That’s it! Easy-peasy, right? Right!
It’s what the righteous can do and will do, because he who began a good work in [us] will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6)—the soon and very soon day, I might add…
Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts. – Zechariah 4:6