Hold fast to what is good.
With the help of my youngest son, I cleaned out our gutters (again!) this past Monday. There actually was a time when I did this on my own. But having grown older (and maybe wiser?), I do not do it alone anymore. Being effectively empty nesters, it is now Stacy who has become my regular “ground man” when doing this task, unless one of the boys happens to be around.
Doing the same job many years ago, I recall confidently tromping up to the ridgeline on my roof (we have a steep pitch in several places). Once I arrived at the top, I realized I was in trouble [important for this story: I am NOT a person who deals well with heights]. As a result, I found myself stuck at the roof cap—irrational, I know, but nonetheless I was stuck. I recall hanging on for dear life—literally digging in with my fingernails as I held fast—as I tried to make my way back down to the ladder. I was not ‘brave’ enough to do so, however, until a hornet got after me (yes, this is true). At that point, I scampered down rather abruptly. Apparently hornets trump heights!
Paul uses the language “hold fast” (or “cling” in some versions). He means for us to attach to, to bind closely to, and to glue ourselves to those things that are good. These “things that are good” are the things that Christ has done, has thought, and has commanded of his followers. The world does not get to decide what is good, of course. Rather, it is the life and work of Jesus Christ that determine what is good. The life of Christ defines that to which we should hold fast, “digging in with our fingernails” with all the strength we have in order to hold on tight to all that is truly good.