The Upper Room devotional reflection for Tuesday, July 19, 2022 comes to us from Doug Wingert of Arizona.
13 But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as first fruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 14 He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. 16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope.
2 Thessalonians 2:13-16 NIV
Years ago, I served as a counselor for middle school students exploring Catalina Island off the California coast. My responsibilities included monitoring students as they participated in ocean-related studies as well as chaperoning some snorkeling adventures. One of the amazing things about the water surrounding the island is the abundance of brown kelp that grows tall and is in constant motion with the surge of waves. The seaweed is anchored to the ocean floor with special growths called holdfasts. By being the steady force that holds the kelp to the sea floor, holdfasts allow the kelp to stay rooted in storms and grow into forests that provide a place for other sea life to flourish.
In Hebrews 4:14, we are reminded that “since we have a great high priest who was ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.” Like a kelp forest, our faith can serve as our holdfast, anchoring us in storms. And when we hold onto Christ, we can create an environment where everyone can prosper.
It has been many years since I was on Catalina Island, and I was probably too young to notice the kelp forests. Still, I appreciate the image that Doug Wingert offers in this reflection. The idea of “holdfast”, something that allows the kelp to “hold fast” to the sea floor and flourish, is a wonderful door to open on our path to understanding God in our lives. We are being reminded that God “holds fast” to us, loving us with grace and without limitations. And because of that unlimited grace, we can become “holdfast”, flourishing ourselves and empowering those around us to flourish. I invite you to consider the ways in which you can be “holdfast” and empowering yourself and others to flourish in God’s world.
Heavenly Father, help us to hold fast to your truth so we can withstand the storms of life and help others to flourish. Amen.
Thought for the Day:
My faith can help others to flourish.
It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him. Deuteronomy 13:4 (NIV)