"Hold On To What You Have"
by Charles J. B. Harrison
(First published in "A Witness and A Testimony" magazine, Vol. 47-4, Jul-Aug 1969)

"These are the words of Him who holds the seven stars in His right hand..." (Revelation 2:1).

"Only hold on to what you have until I come. To him who overcomes and does My will to the end, I will give authority over the nations." (Revelation 2:25-26).

"Since you have kept My command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown." (Revelation 3:10-11).

"Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring—those who obey God's commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus." (Revelation 12:17).

In those closing chapters of Revelation the Lord Himself is speaking very solemnly to His people, and His speaking is in relation to things coming to an end. He is speaking in relation to the consummation, the heading up of things. Again and again we find that on His heart in this speaking is the imminence of the end, the nearness of its coming. Does not the book of the Revelation begin in that atmosphere? "Things which must shortly come to pass." The Lord is moving on to the end, and He who holds the seven stars in His hand is saying this: "hold on to what you have until I come!"

What have we that needs to be held? Well everything that we have really discovered of Christ meets a challenge. Satan wastes no time on challenging our mere theories, but only if any child of God really has something. God would not say, 'what you have' if it were not something which He knows is worth having. He says, 'Hold on to what you have!' There are some things we have that we have received of Him; they are holy things, they are precious things, for they are discoveries of the Lord Himself. If we have nothing of Him that we have discovered, then we have nothing at all. But I do not think many who read this would say: "I have not found anything in the Lord!" I think we have all found something, and from the moment we discover Him to be anything to us, the adversary appears and challenges every bit of that possession; he assails every bit that we possess that really is livingly of Christ.

The very first factor, perhaps, in our knowledge of the Lord is the knowledge of sins forgiven, and some of us remember the joy of knowing that the sin question had really been settled. We gloried, we rejoiced, for we were forgiven people. And then, for many of us, trouble set in. The enemy pounced and insinuated a question: 'Are you quite sure?' Some of us escaped a very bad time because we knew the answer to that, but those who do not know the answer very nearly go out. The answer is: "It is written!" And that carried some of us through that time. We just said: 'The Lord says so!' When we have that answer the enemy does not waste much time on us; and so we have to hold fast that which we have.

And as we move on to know the Lord better in any way we all need fresh discoveries of Him. I think that so many have taken a deep breath of the Lord, perhaps some time ago, and they have been holding their breath ever since, and now they are very nearly out of breath. The Lord wants us to be taking fresh breaths, really receiving abundance of grace, because the abundance is available every day. There are more discoveries of Him awaiting us once we have tasted - 'to whom keeping on coming' - and the Lord Jesus wants to satisfy all our needs. You remember those who are spoken of as "blessed and satisfied with the goodness of the Lord" (Deuteronomy 33:23). He wants us to be like that. If ever you are dissatisfied, if ever you are running dry, there is only one explanation - you have been looking in some other direction than Himself. Our first tendency is to be looking at ourselves to try to find some improvement there. You notice that some people who have had an up and down spiritual life, when you meet them, and perhaps rather foolishly ask them how they are getting on, nearly always say: 'Oh, well, I am afraid I am not much good.' Well, that is it. They have not yet learned to transfer their whole direction from themselves to what the Lord Jesus is, to look away unto Him, to not expect to be any better, nor to come to that place where Christ becomes the only hope of existence. I do hope that He is becoming that to some of us! If Paul said that love was the thing to aim at, I think it will be nearer the truth when we say that cleaving to Himself is the secret of everything. We cannot love except as we cleave to Him.

And so our discovery of Christ is the outcome of learning by degrees that in no other direction have we any resource. The Lord is constantly pointing us to Himself; and every time we freshly discover that Christ is sufficient and have proved Him, and we have begun to know the Lord better, the enemy will not leave anything like that alone. Have you noticed that when you have really met the Lord, have appropriated something that the Lord revealed and committed yourself to it, and that has become a fact for you, that fact must be challenged by what you meet afterwards? And during that time the Word is saying: "Hold on to what you have!" It is possible to let slip what we have. We all want to have more of Christ and to manifest more of Him. Why do some people manifest little, perhaps some who have had opportunity for many years? Their growth has been negligible and they register very much the same as they did perhaps ten years ago. There is no river, nothing flowing. May it not just be this: that there never was a real taking hold in faith of what the Lord said? They have never said: 'Lord, that is mine now and I praise You for it. I thank You for it.' Then when the tremendous reaction came and the enemy sought to dislodge them from that position, they failed to hold fast what they had. They failed to say: 'This is a bad time, but what You said at that time is still true.' They let it run out like a leaking vessel, so that when it comes to the next series of meetings, they are starting all over again exactly where they were before. After a time they may even become dull of hearing.

The thing is: how much more of the Lord Jesus has really taken up residence in us? "What you have!" Have we got anything? We have got something but we may have more, and God is dealing with us all in order that there may be more of Christ and less of our own strength, by which I mean even our own dogged continuance in what we think. God wants that we should really receive of Himself by faith continually, receive continually what we need morally and what we need of patience and endurance. And the Lord has an end in view.


His end is the Kingdom, the overthrow of the whole regime of the evil one, and His instrument, His very means of doing that, is saints; something done in the Body of which you and I are members that causes the collapse of the whole hierarchy of evil. Now, Satan is trying to prevent our seeing that. He says: 'It may be something to do with some important people, but not you!' I believe that it is to do with each one of us and that your battle lost or won is affecting the whole situation. We are all equal in Christ, and if one member suffers or fails, all the members suffer, and the Lord's end is the overthrow of that terrific stranglehold that is on His universe. We see the forces in their outward display and we think how tremendous they are, but the invisible forces behind them are far more terrible. Millions of men are just playthings! Armies that can stretch for one or two thousand miles are nothing to the powers behind. They can push them along and wipe them out in a night. The powers in the heavens are the powers God is going to shake, and the thing behind is going to tumble to the dust. "To him who overcomes and does My will to the end, I will give authority over the nations" (Revelation 2:26). The Lord is speaking simply to the saints. What a privilege that we are of that company! This word is to us. He says to us: "Hold on to what you have!" Are you going to say: 'I have not got much!'? He says: 'Hold on to what you have.' It is that wicked one who is saying that it does not matter about you, and you have not got this or that. The Lord's attitude is one of love. Do hold what you have and you will have more. "For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance." (Matthew 25:29). There is plenty more to follow if you will hold on. "Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown" - your part in the Throne, your fellowship with Him in the day of His glory.

I think there is another emphasis: that we are not going to win in this battle by trying to be or to do something more. The emphasis of the Lord is: 'Hold what you have.' I do not mean hold some opinion that you have, or hold something that you say is of the Lord. Hold fast to your utter confidence in Himself about every bit of grace that He has shown you. It is grace that we need to grow in, not in some doctrine, or something of opinion, or something of a theory, but grace. There is a measure of Christ in us and that has come through the appropriation of faith, and the Lord is saying to us: 'That is precious to Me. Do not be moved from it!'


And when we come to that next word: "Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown", the words 'hold on' are simply the verb of the noun 'strength'. Be strong in what you have. It is not the same word as just holding it in your hand, but it is: 'You have got it. Now be strong in Me about it!' In Him we are possessed of everything that we need. As we are together here and see one another, we represent the wealth of Christ. "You have been given fullness in Christ" (Colossians 2:10). And what brings that to pass? The link of faith which says 'I appropriate Christ as fullness for me. I appropriate all that He is to make up all the lacks.' So, having appropriated by faith, the Lord is saying: 'Hold that! Maintain your ground that in Christ you have all that you need.'

Some of you, I know, are being put into very hot places. There are places which some of us may know where there is great pressure and little relief. All of us know something of battle in these days but at any rate there is fellowship and a coming together for many of us. But some, without that opportunity, are meeting even more intense forces in the utterly naked way that perhaps others do not meet it. How is that to be countered? How is there to be a going through so that 'no man takes your crown'? I believe the Lord is saying: 'It is all right. You have everything. You have Me, your sins are forgiven, there is no condemnation, you are joined to Me in the Throne, you are in victory.' Do not get worked up, for it is a fact. Just be strong and inwardly, even without the ability to spend time thinking, retain a confidence of heart that Christ is enough, that He in you is all that you need. That is 'holding on to what you have' and no one can take your crown while you do that. The Lord Jesus is invulnerable. He is Himself the victor, and He is the victor of every field in the weakest saint. The kingdoms and the nations around us may rage, but the crown is on His head. He stands unmoved when everything else rages, and that is the Lord who is joined to you in your spirit. The Lord is saying: 'Do not move! If you will only hold on and refuse to be moved, you are through.'

"He that keeps My works to the end..." What are His works? Well, just the work that is of faith, the corresponding action to our confidence in Himself. We have confidence in Him and therefore we walk in a certain way. Spontaneously, out of our relationship with Him, there are certain things that cannot be done and certain things that can be done. The certain things we do are the works of faith, and there are extra works which are the fruit of our confidence in Him. You are not trying to help the Lord, but you are just counting on Him, and because of that confidence in Himself you actively do the next thing in the light of that fact. You are doing very ordinary things? Well, they are His works. It is rather comforting to know when you have to do certain very ordinary things that they are His works. "To the pure all things are pure; to the defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure" (Titus 1:15).

Yes, we can be unscathed in the midst of the battle because of His hold upon us, and I want to finish with that.


This is the One who holds the seven stars in His right hand. A little further up it says: "The seven stars which you saw in my right hand... are the angels of the seven ekklesias." The saints to whom He is speaking are in His right hand, so before He begins to say anything to us He says: 'I have you in My hand. Far mightier than your faith-hold on me is My hold on you!' The Lord is holding us through this warfare. If we were to sink altogether, we would find Him picking us out again. There is a mighty hold in His hand, and He will not let go. You may say as you go into battle this week: 'That word was about holding fast, but I feel I have let go!' Here is the accuser again. He is always at it. The answer is: He will hold you fast. You are in the right hand, the authoritative right hand of Him who has the mightiest hand. I think we need that foundation. We need the rest of knowing that He holds us through all the ups and downs. As that hymn says: "Blest when my faith can hold Him fast." We have a better time when we hold Him fast, when we hold on. And He is encouraging us to hold on - not ordering us to, but encouraging us to hold on. He is saying: 'I will not let you go. If you hold on to Me it is going to make a lot of difference!'

I believe we are all together in this battle of faith just now. The Lord is saying: 'Hold on! Behold, I come quickly, but hold on just a little longer that no man takes your crown.' And there is a crown of glory that doesn't fade away which He has prepared for just a little grain of faith. It is all His goodness and His glory, and He is well worthy of our trust.




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