It’s Monday Grace!
“Keep the faith, brother!”
What in the world does that mean?
For many, keeping the faith means to stay strong in the midst of persecution or temptation. It suggests trying and working hard. It means smiling in the face of suffering, professing Christ in the face of opposition, and believing in times of doubt. But it focuses on what we believe and what we do. Doctrine and works.
For too many, “the faith” is simply doctrine and works. Head and hands. But what about heart?
In another place, I have written about the word “keep.” It means to treasure or hold dear. It means to value and embrace and protect. The things we keep are things of the heart. They are things that hold some claim to our identity and strength.
When Jesus tells us to “keep” His commands, He wants us to hold them as valuable. They are valuable because of His love for us. They are His words of caution and commission for us. Yes, they are doctrine and yes, they guide the work of our hands, but they are more than that. They are words of life.
“And I do not seek My own glory; there is One who seeks and judges. Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.”” (John 8:50–51, NKJV)
“Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.” (2 Timothy 1:13–14, NKJV)
So, to “keep the faith” is to stay close to Jesus. Our faith is not in the list of doctrines we believe, nor is it in the work of our service or behavior. Our faith is in Jesus. His life was focused on His Father, and He taught us to focus on Him. As He found glory in His relationship with the Father, so we find glory in our relationship with Jesus.
This is the word and the faith that the saints keep.
“Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” (Revelation 14:12, NKJV)
We belong to Jesus. Remembering that, valuing that, brings us hope and life. We must not slip back under the law, hoping to be judged by our behavior or doctrine. We must hold fast to Jesus alone, trusting that He is sufficient for all that God expects of us.
“keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” (Jude 21, NKJV)
Jesus is God’s grace for our hearts. He is our hope and promise. He is our provider and deliverer and protector. Mercy and peace and joy come out of our relationship with Jesus.
Keep your eyes on Him, and you will keep the faith!