Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, – Jude 24-25
Hymns are a very critical and rich heritage for the Christian’s relationship with God. They hold such profound truths together, ensuring that hope is passed down lyrically and musically to countless generations till Kingdom come. ‘He will hold me fast’ was written by Ada Habershon after receiving a letter from Harkness Robert about the need for a song which could give definite assurance of success in the Christian life. A young man got saved at a crusade in Canada and was doubtful about his ability to hold out to the end. Like this young man, many of us today are very sceptical about the relationship we have with Christ, its authenticity and our hope (if any) for making it to the end.
Dear friend, God is faithful and dependable. He can keep you from stumbling and present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy! Is that not amazing and worth our consideration? The hymn ‘He will hold me fast’ is an excellent song of confidence and reminder that our Savior King has everything under control. Today, we will look at the first stanza. This verse calls to note Christ’s ability to keep us through our fears, twists of life, temptation and our weakness to desire God.
When I fear my faith will fail
Commentators say that the phrase ‘do not fear; do not be afraid;’ or, and the variations appear more 365 times in the Bible. It could be true. The King James version says ‘fear not’ or ‘Be not afraid’ 103 times. Whatever times it appears, God is keen on calling us to trust and not fear. He told Joshua on the verge of crossing the Jordan to defeat Jericho, immediately after the demise of Moses, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9. Out of all the things that God would have charged a new leader to observe, a command against fear tops the list. But how was Joshua going to do that? Before that, God had called him to keep his heart aligned with the Law of God. There is no spiritual boldness without careful adherence to God’s word in our lives. We must hide the word in our hearts and obey everything it is calling us to do.
Fear is the atmosphere of the devil. God never operates in the realm of unhealthy fear. He has never led anyone to a place of fear- unhealthy fear. Unhealthy fear is fear that cripples one’s ability to hope for tomorrow. It kills one’s joy and confidence in truth by casting doubts and creating uncertainties. The thing to ask ourselves is what you fear is more powerful than Christ? Or if fears presence in your heart is stronger than that of Christ? The answer to both of those questions is no if you’re a Christian.
If it is not as powerful and present than Christ, then this fear is unhealthy and does not need to put our hearts in a state pandemonium. There is nothing more powerful and present than Christ. All authority in heaven and on earth. He holds the universe with the power of his word, and in him, all things hold together. No one can overcome his power nor defeat him when he makes an attack. He is strong and mighty. If we lose focus in this reality, our faith will fail (seemingly). Because of his sovereignty, Jesus is calling us to lay down our lives and allow him to be in control. When the Lord is in the room, all our fears and anxieties are silenced.
What is holding you captive today that you cannot trust God anymore? Is it a need for assurance about the future without- College education or joblessness though you have qualified? Is it an attack of the devil in your dreams? Whatever it is, Christ will hold you fast. It may not be smooth or precise for now, but he will hold you fast. Your fears, however big they may seem to be, wielding such power over your heart and mind, are not greater than our Lord. “Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.” Do not fear!
When the tempter would prevail
Peter reminds us that our adversary the devil roams around like a roaring lion looking for one to devour. The simile ‘like’ is used. He is not a lion, not even a cub, for that matter. He may act like one, roar like one, or also look like one, but he is not one! However, much as he is not a lion, he still wields some authority in this world today. He is not as weak as we may think. He has the power to deceive even the elect. He had guts to tempt the creator when he came in for of man. Jesus calls him ‘prince of this world’ (John 14:30, John 12:31) and Paul calls him the Spirit now at work in the sons of disobedience (Ephesians 2:1- 3).
Of all the things we can attribute to the devil, tempting is his most significant success. To tempt is to lure someone into doing something contrary to the will and command of God intending to lead the person to live independently of God (sin). In Genesis 3, we see this character roll out very fast in the lives of our first parents, Adam and Eve. He created doubt in the mind of Eve and got her to eat the fruit that the Lord had commanded them not to eat. In this instance, he managed to rob us of the perfection of creation that God has intended for us.
Nevertheless, no one can thwart the plan of God. The devil thought that he had prevailed against the plan of God, but this was not to be. No wonder the word used here is ‘would prevail’. Yes. He may have thrown all armoury at you, and you are feeling weak and swallowed up in things; addictions, anger, immorality, or any other wicked desire of the human heart. It may seem to you as if there is no motivation to fight against the pressures that are coming your way. I know that he pushes us to the wall many times over. The Scripture says in 1 John 3:8, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” Jesus has prevailed against the tempter.
What is it that the tempter has thrown at you that makes you feel thrown off balance? Pornography, sexual sin, gambling, greed, malice, un-forgiveness and other lusts of the flesh may seem stronger before your eyes than your ability to handle. The confidence for the believer in doubt is that Christ will hold him fast. How could this be? Because he is the one with the power over all rulers, authorities, powers, and principalities in all ages.
Where are you at today? Has fear got the best of you? Has temptation crippled your progress and almost rendered you unproductive? Jesus is stronger and present than the devil. The promise is that he will hold you fast! Do not be shaken. Do not lose heart.