What does the Bible mean when it speaks of being faithful and steadfast? How should we best guard our hearts and be on the alert against temptation? What are the daily routines we should establish to follow Christ well and finish strong?
Bible Gateway interviewed Cynthia Heald about her book, The Faithful Way: Remaining Steadfast in an Uncertain World (NavPress, 2019).
Why do you consider the terms faithful and steadfast to be important?
Cynthia Heald: Because faithful and steadfast occur frequently in Scripture, I think these qualities must be important to God, and therefore they should be significant to us! To be faithful is to be loyal and trustworthy. Faithfulness is an integral part of the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit in our lives. Consequently, God desires that his children be faithful. I believe he looks forward to saying these welcoming words when we meet him face to face: “Well done, my good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21, NLT; emphasis added). Psalm 119:30 expresses this thought: “I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I have set my heart on your laws” (NIV). Here we see the psalmist’s intent to be faithful and his desire to be steadfast. To be steadfast in this context implies a determination and single-mindedness to be faithful. One of the first verses I memorized as a young believer was 1 Corinthians 15:58: “Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (ESV).
Share some biblical examples of those who’ve been faithful and steadfast.
Cynthia Heald: The verse that prompted my writing of The Faithful Way was Paul’s testimony written to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:7: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful” (NLT). Paul honestly testified of his intentionality and commitment in remaining faithful. He counted everything as worthless in comparison to knowing Christ. Paul steadfastly pressed on “to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize” (Philippians 3:14, NLT). Joseph is also a commendable example of wanting to walk the faithful way. When tempted by Potiphar’s wife to sin, he boldly declared, “How could I do such a wicked thing? It would be a great sin against God” (Genesis 39:9, NLT). Fully aware of serious impending consequences, Joseph chose the faithful way.
Why should Jesus’ followers be challenged to guard their hearts against temptation?
Cynthia Heald: Living in today’s temptation-filled world takes a heart determined to be faithful, along with an almost-herculean effort to guard our hearts. James wrote, “Each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire” (James 1:14, ESV). Temptation is only an inducement to sin, and it becomes our responsibility to protect our hearts so that we don’t experience any consequences that result from yielding to temptation. The good news is that we have help when we’re faced with temptation. First Corinthians 10:13 states, “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure” (NLT). God is faithful in our temptations; we just need to be willing to obey the promptings and guidance of the Holy Spirit so we know the way of escape and how to endure.
Get to know preachers, scholars, and visionaries who have shaped the Christian church with our devotional, 'Faithful Through the Ages.'
How should hearts be guarded?
Cynthia Heald: We do need to be intentional in our desire to remain faithful. This means that we choose to love the Lord above all else and that we wholeheartedly want to obey his Word.
I’ve found the best way to guard my heart is to abide in and spend time with the Lord daily. Only when we’re still before the Lord can we discern his voice prompting us to flee from sin and to say no to temptation.
I think that godly fellowship is key in my pursuit of holiness, as is setting my heart to stay alert and be prayerful throughout the day, asking the Lord that I be made aware of any enticement to be unfaithful.
What should we do if we yield to temptation?
Cynthia Heald: I think King David, who did yield to temptation, is a good example for us. When David was confronted with his sin, he humbled himself and repented. In Psalm 51:4, he echoes Joseph’s thought about sinning against God: “Against you, and you alone, have I sinned. I have done what is evil in your sight” (NLT). David confessed his sin, and God graciously forgave him and restored him.
What have been your most significant lessons regarding the Bible?
Cynthia Heald: One of the most significant lessons concerning God’s Word has been to prize and honor the Scriptures by making them a major part of my life. As a young twentysomething, my mentor challenged me to read the Bible every year. I took her seriously, and this has been my practice for more than 50 years. Jesus’ Words in John 15:5 are embedded deep in my heart: “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (NKJV). Without abiding in Christ, I can do nothing of eternal value. My definition of abiding is taken from the example of Mary of Bethany: constantly sitting at the feet of Jesus, listening to his Word with a heart to obey.
What are your thoughts about Bible Gateway, the Bible Gateway App or the Bible Gateway Bible Audio App?
Cynthia Heald: My husband and I both are constant users of Bible Gateway. I’d be at a loss in my writing without Passage Lookup, Keyword Search, and the variety of Bible translations to choose from. My husband especially enjoys listening to Scripture. Thank you!
What is a favorite Bible passage of yours, and why?
Cynthia Heald: Psalm 73:25 is my favorite verse: “Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth” (NASB). Asaph, who wrote Psalm 73, came to this great conclusion after questioning God about why the wicked prospered while he suffered. His bitterness impelled him to enter the sanctuary of God, where he began to acknowledge God’s care for him and to view life in light of God’s eternal purposes. It was then that he could proclaim that God, who dwells in eternity and rules the universe, is the only one worthy of any desire he might have. And because I, too, acknowledge God’s majesty and worthiness, I want to honor him by being faithful and steadfast.
Bio: Cynthia Heald uses her speaking engagements, Bible studies, and books to encourage women around the world to deepen their relationship with God. In addition to her popular Becoming a Woman of… Bible study series, which includes the bestselling Becoming a Woman of Excellence and Becoming a Woman of Freedom, Cynthia has also written Becoming a Woman Who Walks With God: A Month of Devotionals for Abiding in Christ, a Gold Medallion–winning devotional. Her husband, Jack, joined her in writing two Bible studies about marriage: Loving Your Wife and Walking Together. Cynthia’s other nonfiction books include A Woman’s Journey to the Heart of God and When the Father Holds You Close.
When she is not writing or speaking, Cynthia loves to spend time with Jack and their four children and eight grandchildren. She is an avid reader, especially of the classics. Cynthia and Jack are full-time Navigator staff members living in Tucson, Arizona.
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