Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10
Steadfastness implies exertion and obedience. At first, a person is steadfast when he does something he would rather not do. And why does he do it? Because God orders it. Steadfastness, taking the kingdom of God by violence requires exertion because the world -- and we-- are opposed to virtue. Virtue is a hard thing to do. One isn't virtuous easily. Virtuousness is based on obedience; and when we obey, God helps our stature to increase. Our ability to endure and to grow into virtue and the likeness of God depends on obedience.
The Bible says the world lies under the power of the wicked one, but it also says that God helps us to occupy this land. Occupying the land means being able to bring the kingdom of God to earth: healing, holiness, etc. But how are we to occupy the land as it is? How are we able to bring God into a land which is filled with the sins that rule as giants? The only way to become like God is to be steadfast in our fight against ourselves, the world, the flesh, sin, and the devil. The only way we can be steadfast is to obey God in being virtuous and to be humble. And to be steadfast. Plants don't drink in water one day then decide to take some deadly poison the next.
So hard to be pure in spirit, so hard to have a pure heart....and then to maintain that pure heart in a steady, humble manner. I mean, what is the use of being pure in heart one night or even five nights in a row and then going off track?
Ah, I could tell you stories! I won't though. Sufficeth to say that God really has renewed and purified my heart about certain things and from certain sins and inexpediences. I would go to bed and be utterly unable to lie down without daydreaming. But God has now turned those vain, fearful, and/or lustful imaginings into purified thought and healthy pondering, healthy imagining. Now it's up to me to co-labor with God. He's empowered me in my fight against what was too strong for me... and now it's up to me to accept this ease He's given me. Same thing with the dieting thing. I now have God helping me and he has so utterly changed food's power over me that I am eating healthily without having to try.
Somehow when God rebukes you about a thing, especially if he does it in a dream, the dream itself carries the divine power to change you. Finally, it's as if the holy spirit has created the new heart in me.
Yet I know that if I slip and "allow" the little foxes to take the vine, that I will be in trouble. I have no urge to take wheat or corn for instance. Which shows God's power. (I really love bagels, sandwiches, noodles, etc.) But I have this power now to not give in. YET I KNOW that if I were to decide to allow even a little crumb or cookie, that I will have opened the door to quenching the Holy Spirit's power. Same thing with daydreaming. I KNOW if I give in to one fantasy, I will be in great trouble.
The thing is to be steadfast...to go from glory to glory...to not hurt the Holy Spirit by consciously going against one's newfound freedom. I shudder to think what might happen to me if I return to my enslavement. Thank you Jesus. With your help, I can persevere and grow into obedience, virtue, steadfastness, humility, and power.