There is a depth of understanding we can grab hold of to make our walk of faith with Jesus Christ constant and powerful, not wavering back and forth or moved by circumstances. One of the keys is held in the meaning of remaining steadfast in the Greek language.
In 1 Corinthians we see the word “steadfast” used twice, both using the same Greek word “hedraios” meaning: to be fixed in purpose, to be firm and immovable. It implies the person who is steadfast will not be turned from his purpose no matter what criticism or disgrace the world endeavors to bring his way. In 7:37 it says “Nevertheless he who stands steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but has power over his own will, and has so determined in his heart that he will keep his virgin, does well.” Unfortunately, this section of Scripture tends to cause controversy for people and offense is taken to what Paul is communicating thus we miss out on the deeper spiritual implications because of carnal assumptions. It is an interesting topic and we will briefly discuss it to some degree since we can understand the point of being steadfast if we comprehend the significance of what Paul is communicating.
In society when Paul recorded this, as it is now to some degree, there was an “acceptable” age for marriage. If a person wasn’t married by this “unspoken” age, suspicion would arise as to what was wrong with a person. Perhaps in recent decades, that age has increased as the concept of family has disintegrated, or people are waiting longer to get married and start families, or they are starting families before marriage. Also, with the acceptance of alternative lifestyles and the increase of overt homosexuality, there is less perceived “pressure” to get married. However, it may still be fair to say there is still a question mark in our minds when people do not get married at some point in life. In this section of Scripture Paul is speaking of fathers and their virgin daughters, and if a man determined his daughter should remain a virgin even past the “appropriate” age, he should remain steadfast in that conviction even though the world would be critical and skepticism would come to his family.
What we probably overlook here is the relationship and input the virgin daughter would have had in this decision- making process because we assume Paul is saying the father made the decision by himself. Because in today’s culture we have lost much of the honor and respect which is to be given to fathers, and we have come to believe there is a time a father no longer has the right to speak into their child’s life, we fall short in understanding the value of fatherly input in life decisions. We should not be quick to assess the situation without relying on Holy Spirit revelation and waiting on Him to clarify His divine inspiration through Paul to us in 2010. This is not speaking of a father dictating the life of his daughter, but rather a father fulfilling his God-given responsibility in helping his daughter make a wise decision, and most likely a mutual understanding to either allow her to marry or remain single. Neither option is a disgrace, but once it is determined she is to remain single, the directive is to remain steadfast, firm and unmovable, in spite of what people will say and do as a result of this decision. How free and beautiful this becomes when we can live life unhindered by peer pressure and fear of what man may say and do. From this verse, we can absorb the spiritual truth of remaining steadfast in our convictions no matter if society thinks differently as long as we have determined in our hearts the Lord’s will in any given situation.
We see “steadfast” used in this manner again in 1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” This is speaking again of being fixed in purpose, unmoved by what other people think or by what we perceive. Paul encourages us by revealing that when we “know” our labor is not in vain we will be steadfast and immovable. This is a major stumbling block in the lives of many Christians. Perhaps we labor in service to the Lord with little to no recognition, with no visible sense of accomplishment or success. We hear things like “God is not looking for you to be successful, He is looking for you to be faithful.” This is true, but not so encouraging when faced with failure after failure. Possibly, the glitch lies in the fact we do not really “know” our labor is not in vain in our hearts. We may recognize it on an intellectual level, but we are easily shaken when we do not see the fruit of our labor. The resolution appears however when we “see” our labor through the eyes of God, making nothing we do in vain when we do it for and in Him.
We must realize it is because of the great Gospel message that we have the privilege to remain steadfast. It is the greatest news on earth – the fact Jesus came to earth, lived, died, and resurrected that we too will live a resurrected life for all eternity with God. It is because of this fantastic present and future existence that we live, move and have our being in Jesus. There is a great reward to standing firm and unwavering in faith, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. It may appear we are losing for Christ’s sake on this side of heaven, but in terms of eternity, we always win – when we remain steadfast in faith in Jesus Christ, firm, unyielding to the ways and attitudes of this world, abounding in the work of the Lord!