Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:4 NIV
They rise straight up. Only wavering slightly, even in the fiercest wind. They will not be forced, pried, persuaded or coerced into doing anything other than standing tall and proud. It’s almost like they are standing guard, watching silently over the others lying complacently around them. If I were speaking of soldiers or some other such heroes, this description would be aptly fitting. Alas, I am referring to my gray hairs. The ones that seem to grow just where my hair naturally parts and so nothing hinders them from growing upward and outward. Or the ones that frame my face and when I absent-mindedly push my hair behind my ears, there they are, springing forth.
The Bible refers to gray hair like this:
Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained in the way of righteousness. Proverbs 16:31 NIV
The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old. Proverbs 20:29 NIV
I do think a head full of white hair is beautiful. But to have a few here and there, and for them to not lay down and play nice with my other brown strands, it can be aggravating. Plus, it means I have to admit that, yes, I am getting older.
But there is something to be said about standing steadfast and firm.
When we first receive Christ as our Savior, we are considered babes in Christ. We have to learn what it means to walk, talk and grow in Christ. We strive to live that Godly life, but are still immature and are prone to fall. There may be times we still try to fit in with others, especially if we consider them friends. We may play nice and go along with the crowd, afraid of taking a firm stand for Christ.
We ultimately come to the point when we realize it is better to seek the approval of God, as opposed to seeking the approval of those around us. We learn that standing for Christ may mean standing alone. With that truth, though, also comes the knowledge that we truly are never alone, because the Holy Spirit within us is giving us the strength we need to make that stand.
Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor is the Lord is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:58 NIV
Growing and maturing in Christ certainly doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time. Becoming righteous happens through the ongoing process of Christ working in us and through us in sanctification. It often takes trials and moments of intense battle to mature in our faith. But as we persevere and grow spiritually, it gets a little easier to be steadfast. It becomes natural to turn to God first. It becomes normal to praise God, no matter the struggle. It’s then that we can’t be forced, pried, persuaded or coerced to turn away from the One who died for us. We can then stand tall and proud, not in an arrogant or boastful way, but with complete confidence in what our Savior is doing in our life, even if we don’t understand it.
So yes, there’s advantages to this aging thing. Even the gray hairs that show up can teach us lessons of standing firm in our faith. And we have this promise to look forward to:
You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. James 5:8 NIV
Heavenly Father, thank You for working in us, sanctifying us daily. Help us to continue to mature in our faith so that we may stand firm and tall in the face of struggles and trials which we shall surely face. May we bring You glory and honor, obediently following wherever You may lead. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.