“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6.
The last two lines of the first stanza say, ‘I could never keep my hold Through life’s fearful path; For my love is often cold; He must hold me fast.’ Such assurance for the soul! He MUST hold me fast. Life will indeed throw at us things that are beyond our ability to handle. Paul’s words in Philippians brings to our attention to the doctrine of persevering grace. That in all of life’s difficult moments, God has providentially supplied all the believer’s needs to make to the other side of the shore.
I am yet to meet a believer who does not wage war against such thoughts; will I make it through the hustles of life? Will I manage to face all these challenges that assail my soul? When we look around us, we see the weaknesses of our flesh in regards to pursuing the things of God. In our world today, many things challenge and mock the heart of what we believe. Relativism is the most significant problem for many believers today. When Relativism strikes, it leaves the believer saying, “I could never keep my hold; for my heart is often cold.”
Three Dangerous expressions of Relativism
Definition: “Relativism is the theory that holds that morality is relative to the norms of one’s culture. That is, whether an action is right or wrong depends on the moral norms of the society in which it is practised. The same action may be morally right in one society but be morally wrong in another.” (Oxford Biblical Studies Online).
New Age Movement teachings
The New Age typically adopts a belief in a holistic form of divinity that imbues all of the universe, including human beings themselves. There is thus a strong emphasis on the spiritual authority of the self.”- (Wikipedia). New age focuses on the empowerment of self as a god subtly brought with self-improvement ideas, alluding to the existence of inner power in every human. The invention and production of superhuman and superhero movies are a great lure into such kind of thinking. Every story about supernatural abilities in humans is a gospel of self-empowerment and improvement. Naturally, humans have an inner longing to be in charge of their environment and even lives. This conversation is usually appealing and seemingly successful as we have people who testify about the new life they have come to know after looking deep into their lives. Is this true? No! The hidden truth about the New Age is that it is under the ruler of the world, the devil. Do not be drawn in. The devil can afford some perishable goods for you. He offered Jesus the kingdoms of the world if he worshipped him. Self-worship is the highest form of idolatry known to the heart of man. God calls us to believe in him and only look to him. All other ground is sinking sand.
The other form of relativism that has been on the rise since some years ago, and now has taken centre stage is the sexual revolution we are experiencing. The original premise for enjoying sex (marriage) as stipulated by the Word of God. Fornication and adultery are nowadays norms that many consider as permissible. For the world, the ends justify the means. It is unthinkable to have young people in a dating relationship who have not already gone ahead and kissed and caressed or even had sex with clothes on. Fathers or mothers with side relationships are deemed wise and in tune with the season! Some say it is their way of creating more experience for them in sexual matters. On the other extreme, homosexuality and lesbianism have become household conversations. There are even so-called LGBTQ Church services. I wonder which Jesus they are worshipping because he is not the Jesus the Messiah! With YouTube and Google, pornography and other ways of sexual indulgence are free to all. With these realities, one can come to a place where they feel as if they can never keep their hold through life’s fearful path. Yes. It is a crazy thing when there seem to be violent battles within one’s hearts between longings for God and the world. The heart is warming to other things and growing cold towards the things of God.
There is the issue of the prosperity Gospel. The health, wealth, name it, and claim-it teaching is tearing apart many believers’ hearts. The teaching that God’s blessing is much more material than it is spiritual. It gets tough on one’s heart when they have a scarcity of the beautiful things of this world, whereas the others who seem not to care about the things of Jesus are wallowing in wealth. Who would not want to have all the nice of the world? This desire is not evil in itself, but when it takes centre stage, our hearts start growing cold. No longer passionate for the prayer, accountability, devotions, missions and other things. There is good news, even for such a heart- He MUST hold you fast.
So the thoughts on the first stanza are a cry of concern from the heart of a man/ woman who desires to keep the things of God at the centre amidst legitimate heart fears and failures. Is it worthwhile to trust in this Jesus? Is there a reason for us to fight and wage war against lust and sin and doubt? Yes. The one who lives in us died for us to set our hearts free and keep us passionate for himself.
Friend, things will become tough ahead, and they will push your faith to the limits. But remember that he saved you with imperishable and incorruptible seed. If he is the one who took you from the miry clay and set your feet on the rock, then surely he will hold you fast. This our hope through endless ages, ‘Jesus led us all the way.’