Do you remember when you were learning to drive? Now, for some of us it has been a long time and we can far more easily remember what it was like to teach our children or perhaps even grandchildren to drive than to remember learning ourselves. I remember working with one of our granddaughters as she was first learning and as we were going around a curve meeting several cars I said to her, “Steady as she goes” and having her say back quickly, “What does that mean, Papa?” At first I laughed about the whole phrase and tried to explain, it was a phrase I had picked up from my dad and probably used by him in teaching me to drive either a car or some kind of farm equipment.
Far more than was the case when my dad used the phrase to me, we live in a time when we need the message, “Steady as she goes.” The idea behind it is that we are in a time of stress, frustration and waves seem to be crushing against us all the time. In such an environment we need a steady hand that refuses to be blown about by all the waves. There are days when I think I just don’t think I can watch the news or hear more about what is going on around the world today. It often seems that every where you look things are either falling apart or going through massive changes all the time.
When Paul wrote to leaders in the church in Ephesians 4:11-16 he noted that Christ had ascended on high and given gifts to people. He gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists and some pastors and teachers. But notice what he said was the purpose of giving these gifts. It is for the equipping of the saints, for the work of ministry, for the building up of the body of Christ. He said it should go on until we all reach the unity of the faith, the knowledge of the Son of God and maturity in him, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. “So that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is head, into Christ.” Spiritually, it is part of life for the waves to beat against us. But God’s longing is for us to be steady as we go. He wants us to grow up into Christ so that we aren’t blown about by every foolish teaching that comes along. There was never been a time in history when people had so much access to information and crazy ideas as they do today. Anyone can get on the internet and espouse any silly notion, no matter how ridiculous it may be and some will believe it is true and must be followed. How can we have the steady life that isn’t blown about all the time?
Notice God’s answer to growing is to equip each person to serve or minister in the body of Christ so that the whole body grows and is built up in faith. You can’t grow stronger and more steady in commitment to God while not doing anything. To grow you must serve. Second, to grow one must share the message of Jesus with others. We must speak the truth in love so that we may grow up into him who is heads even Christ. Far too many are blown away from God because they can never find their voice to share the story of Jesus with others. It is necessary to speak! Then one must speak the truth! Finally they must speak the truth in love! If either of those elements are left out the result is we never grow up in Jesus.
Lay alongside this point another verse from Paul to a different group of people. In the Book of I Corinthians chapter 15 and verse 58 Paul closes his discussion on the subject of the resurrection from the dead. Some in the church in Corinth had somehow reached the conclusion that when one dies they are just dead and that is the end of it all. Paul pointed out if there is no resurrection then Christ isn’t raised and we are still in our sins. There is no gospel or good news without the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. If in this life only we have hope we are of all people most to be pitied. He said that just as in Adam all people die, so in Christ all will be made alive. Everyone who lives will die and every person who dies will be raised from the dead. What happens then to a person is determined by their life and relationship with the Lord while they were alive before their death. It is in light of the resurrection that Paul wrote this final verse of that section. “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
Notice, if you take away the resurrection from the dead, then our labor would be in vain or useless in Jesus. Things aren’t made right until eternity is placed in the mix. Because of what happens when we are raised from the dead and our being rewarded for the life for the Lord, we must be steadfast, immovable and always abounding in the Lord’s work. We aren’t changed or blown away by life and circumstances. Instead, in the midst of trials, troubles, temptations and every wind that Satan can cause to blow our way, we continue on a steady as she goes course of living for the Lord.
Look around you. Think of people you know or maybe even the person you are. So many people are up and down, thrown here and there to the degree you never know what they will be like the next time you see them. One day they are on top of the world with everything going right. The next time you see them everything is awful. Life has turned over on them. God calls us to get off the spiritual roller coaster and get on a steady course for him. Imagine being a husband or wife and never knowing which person will come home at the end of the day. Will it be the happy person who loves life or will it be one who has blown up today, who is angry at life and discouraged with the world? It is near impossible to have a full and abundant life when you live with someone who is blown from one side to the other with every wind that comes along. Get on a steady course and grow up for God. It will bring fullness and peace to your life and a glorious future with him.