"Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you..." - I Corinthians 15:1-2a
Last night at community group, the question was asked, "What does it look like to hold fast to Jesus?" I didn't say anything, but my mind was flipping through a vast collection of adventure stories I've seen and read, and that moment when the hero is holding on to something for life - whether he's holding on to a rope to keep from falling or holding on to a precious treasure to keep it out of the hands of the enemy... regardless of the situation, here's what I realized: when you are holding fast to something, you don't have energy or strength or resources to hold on to anything else. The moment you try, you slip, fumble, or fall. "Holding fast" is an all-or-nothing kind of commitment. We're all holding fast to something, it's just a matter of what, and is it worth it.
In Corinthians, Paul encourages the Church to hold fast to the word he preached - the gospel... the Good News... the Word of God... Jesus. So to me, holding fast to Jesus means letting go of everything else. If you grew up in a Christian context like I did, that may sound cliche. But I keep finding myself grasping for other things. Even as I declare that I only need Jesus, that he truly satisfies, my hands reach out in hope for something else. Lately, I wake from my dreams at night to find my fingernails digging deep into my palms because I'm clinching my fists so tight, around... what? Sometimes it is a fight, a struggle, to hold fast to Jesus, to choose to trust him above all else.
On the flip side, it is sometimes terrifying to let go of something else in order to take hold of Jesus. At least for me, it is easier to hold fast to something that I know and am comfortable with than to let it go and trust that Jesus will be even better. And wow, even as I write that, I am shocked at my lack of faith. Don't you know Him at all? How can you even question his sufficiency and supremacy?
One of my favorite scenes in the book, The Princess Bride, is the "snow sand" - when Buttercup falls through the sand and Westley grabs a vine and jumps in to rescue her... and the vine is too short. He has to make a choice - save himself by holding on to the vine, or let go to reach her and risk losing both of their lives in the process. I love how the author writes the response: "Westley let go of the vine without a qualm, because he had come too far to fail now..." I tend to panic when God tells me to let go of things that, to me, look like life. God, what if I let go and... fears of loneliness, failure, and deaths of dreams make an eternity of floating through snow sand look pleasant. But if I love Jesus as passionately as Westley loved Buttercup, then I should have no qualms in letting go in order to be with Him.
The good news is that Jesus is worth holding fast to. He is the vine that is never too short, the branch that will never break, the rope that will not fray. And what is even better about Jesus is that when I lose strength and cannot hold on, he holds on to me and will not let me go. When I choose to receive and stand on and hold fast to his promises, He will hold fast to me as his child.