The world around us is ever more unstable. Traditions and cultures established throughout centuries are now being attacked and gradually destroyed by the new generations without being replaced by something better, clearly expressed and lasting. The question must now be asked: how can we find stability in this situation?
Among the questions found in the Bible, we have the following one: "Why do you gad about so much to change your way?" (Jeremiah 2:36). The question is made by the LORD through His prophet, and is directed His people, Israel and particularly to the kingdom of Judah. The verb "to gad about", has the meaning of going and coming constantly in search of pleasure, breaking loose along the way (v. 23). The nation of Israel was an example of instability.
It had been separated by God to be a people exclusively His, endowed with a good and perfect law, a holy priesthood which was a type of the Saviour who would come when the time was right, it enjoyed the love and protection of the God Almighty, and it was freely given a great and well located territory, containing fertile land where it could have remained forever. It had a blessed stability before it if it remained faithful to God, but Israel tottered and failed deplorably.
Instead of treading the way that God had indicated, that demanded allegiance, complete dependence and obedience, the nation ventured along others that pleased it more. It moved away from God many times and, as humanity in general does, on these occasions it invented gods for itself according to its own standards, gods easy to please, that did not require a high standard of behaviour, really just simple projections of the old nature of man. For defence against their enemies, the Israelites trusted covenants made at high cost with Gentile nations, but when the consequences of their sin came upon them and their alliances were breached, the people did not appeal to their gods, for they were worth nothing, but shamelessly begged the aid of the LORD.
In this passage of Scripture the people are rebuked for not repenting as they were being punished, but persevering in their infidelity to God, sinning more skilfully than wicked women, destroying the poor and the innocent, yet protesting innocence. The disasters had come to them as a consequence of their attitude. They never recovered their stability.
The experience of Christianity through the ages seems to have very been similar: the local churches went on moving away from the simplicity and purity of the Gospel based on Christ and the teaching of His apostles, to preach a different Gospel and to make for themselves gods according to their own standards, following philosophies and practices rejected by God, to the point of entering into alliance with the world in order to become more acceptable and to increase their influence. The world, as well as professing Christians who are its allies, live in accordance with human philosophy and teachings. Most of human wisdom is fallible and without value, soon vanishing.
Today we see churches of all the shades, calling themselves Christian but many only motivated by material gain, whose leaders "dance to any music " without knowing where they are going or even where they came from, converting the Word of God into a lie to satisfy their own particular ungodly ambitions.
Certainly it is not the desire of our heavenly Father that His children should feel unsafe and unstable. He Himself is unchanging - that is one of His attributes. The Lord Jesus "is the same yesterday, today and forever". The Word of the Lord lives and remains forever. His word is sure and unchangeable, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away." (Matthew 24:35). Everything found in it will be fulfilled "For I am the LORD. I speak, and the word which I speak will come to pass; it will no more be postponed" (Ezekiel 12:25). Only in God is perennial stability found.
True believers in Christ who desire security and stability must lead their lives in accordance with the Word of the Lord, in conformity with the grace and mercy of God. Its standards of behaviour in all walks of like have to be observed, instead of those of the world which, it now seems, are about to disappear.
As citizens of the kingdom of God, our behaviour must be honourable to the name of Christ, "let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ" (Philippians 1:27). The Greek word translated "conduct" is politeuesthe, from politês, citizen: it means to behave like a citizen, capable of dealing with affairs of state. It is a very honourable position - in the time of Paul a citizen was ranked well above all the many servants and slaves. Paul had Roman citizenship. Our word "police" also has its origin in "politeuesthe". In other words, our lives must be governed by the policies (also from "polis") of heaven and " be policed " by the Word of God, in this way assuring ourselves of a steady and secure manner of life.
One of the Biblical principles is the secure family unit, centred on the loving relationship between husband and wife. This divine principle, expressed in the dawn of creation, is emphasised time after time in the Bible. Family life is the foundation of a stable society. The modern world is trying to undo it after "the women and children liberation" movements, and already it has had much success. The commandment "honour your father and your mother" is being forgotten. To discipline children with "the rod" is already frowned upon or even illegal. Instability is ever on the increase, with advances without precedent in infant crime.
As parents and grandparents we want the new generation to grow in a steady and safe environment. The first step in order to achieve this consists in giving them a healthy example, by means of which they may learn the principles of the kingdom of God. How many believing parents are disappointed to see their children straying into the ways of the world. "I do not know why" they say, "I always took them to Sunday school". They forget that, more than going to Sunday school, it is important to have an example of faithfulness to the teaching of the Bible given by their own parents.
As partakers of the communion of a local church, we wish for a peaceful and steady environment, where we and all the other members may grow in the knowledge of God and of our Saviour.
We have abundant teachings in the New Testament on the behaviour that each one must have inside of the church in order to reach this objective. For example: "As the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do." (Colossians 3:12-13). "Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life." (Philippians 2:14-16). "If you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations -- "Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle," which all concern things which perish with the using -- according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh." (Colossians 2:20-23).
Summing up, stability is maintained when: the people of God live in accordance with His Word instead of human wisdom. the children learn to behave according to Biblical teaching and the example of obedience to God given by their parents, rather than what they learn from their schoolmates and their friends and companions from unbelieving families. the local church endeavours to live in compliance with God's principles, serving one another in love instead of quarrelling among themselves and imposing their loads on each other.