Apparently the idea is to see how long you can stay on its back without falling off—the mechanical bull is programmed to buck violently!
However, not in this commercial. The bull is gliding smoothly in a circle with the man safe, relaxed, and smiling on its back. The voice-over says, “Steady is exciting!” The advertisement is for some new medication to control diabetes and keep the blood levels “steady” without the ups and downs so often encountered in that illness. That sparked an analogy for me to our spiritual life.
“Steady” is not an active word. It is a quiet, rooted word. It implies being firm, immobile, unshakable, established. The word steadfast in 1 Corinthians 15:58 in the NIV is translated, “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you....” Steady is a “rock” word, an “anchor” word, a word with backbone. It is an under control word.
In various passages in the New Testament it is used as “standing firm in suffering, steady in working for the Lord, in self-control, grounded in the faith, firm in our confidence, in our hope, and in our resistance to the wiles of the devil.” We are encouraged to “stand in the evil day, to stand fast in the liberty of Christ.” We are to stand fast by “holding the traditions, to stand perfect and complete in all the will of God, to stand fast in the Lord, in one spirit, with one mind.” No wobbly, unstable stance—Steady does it!
Does God prefer us to stand still more than to actively do battle and engage the enemy? Isn't it more glorious and necessary to fight than to just stand there?
Obviously there is a time to fight and press forward, but also a time to stand firm, to hold the fort, to stand secure in what has been obtained at great cost. Standing steady is not the same as simply passively standing still. Standing usually comes after God-directed activity. We are to actively clothe ourselves with the whole armor of God, every provided piece, most of them intended for defense. Then, fully reinforced and confident with all our equipment in place, “...having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6:13). Steady does it! We are not to budge an inch or give up any ground.
Life storms are sure to come. Waves will inevitably beat upon our life-house. Floods may threaten to engulf us. If we don't stand firmly anchored to The Rock, Christ Jesus, we will be overcome. The enemy is looking for our vulnerable places, where we could be open to compromise, and where we are defenseless. We may be physically, mentally, emotionally exhausted with the length of life's journey, weary from one thing after another coming against us. With the Psalmist we cry, “Oh Lord, is it not enough?” We may be tempted to compromise, to loosen our grip on the Truth once delivered to us. As our years increase and our weakness becomes more apparent, it becomes easier to let down our guard, to let our hands hang down, and our knees to become feeble. We are more inclined to faint than to stand firm.
We may even consider turning back and giving up. It seems just too hard to keep on keeping on. But God hasn't provided any armor for our backs—we are defenseless if we retreat. Steady does it!
In my advancing years I feel myself becoming more physically unsteady. It is easier to lose my balance with rough places underfoot. I look for firm ground and level places to walk or stand. With the Psalmist I plead, “Let Thy good Spirit lead me on level ground” (143:10). Lacking balance, it is not shameful to lean on someone to steady oneself. The Lord provides a rod and staff to support me and His own presence to keep me steady. It is not sissy to let Him hold my hand so that I will not stumble and fall. “Thy right hand upholds me.” He brings alongside stronger companions to journey with me, to encourage me, to keep me from being shaken and moved from the paths of righteousness. “The Lord was my stay [support].” Steady does it!
Steady is an abiding word. To abide is to continue, dwell, remain. As the calendar pages turn, sometimes we begin to lack consolations and our emotions are not as moved by the solid truths of God's Word as when they were fresh. We are in danger of letting slip the certainty we once had. Steady does it! All the more should we stand firm and be faithful and persevering in our faith walk on the path God has uniquely set before us.
As our years increase, each of us has his or her particular real or mechanical or virtual bucking bulls [circumstances of life] who try to unseat us spiritually from our confidence in Christ. The enemy is actively vying for our souls to the very end of our mortal lives with his whole bag full of wiles to throw us off balance. “Greater is He who is within us than he that is in the world.” Whatever our lot, “Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain you [keep you steady]. He will never allow the righteous to be shaken” (Psalm 55:22). Steady does it!