1 John 2:28-29
28 And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming. 29 If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.
The word that sticks out to me today is "continue." If you are reading this today, I think God would encourage you to not give up in your faith. There are times when following Jesus can be so difficult. The pain of life can feel overwhelming. Living his way can feel unfair as you watch others make choices and not suffer any consequences. There are times when we can even start to feel a little self-pity, "why do I have to be the one who chooses love over hate, good over evil, and compassion over indifference?"
But God would say to you today, continue. There is something powerful about just taking the next step, and then the next step, and so on. God has revealed himself as FAITHFUL. Over and over again in the Bible we are shown how faithful he is. And when we choose to be faithful in return, there is something deep and powerful we learn and experience about God. Faithfulness endures through the hard times. Faithfulness continues through the questioning times. Faithfulness perseveres through the times when we are just plain worn out.
Paul encourages us in Galatians 6:9, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Eugene Peterson was famous for saying that we are called to a "long obedience in the same direction." Following Jesus isn't about finding the newest fad, or the newest band, or the newest spiritual high. It's about staying the course. It's about saying yes to Jesus every day, day after day, until we continue to say yes to him on the new heaven and new earth.
Maybe you need to hear this today: don't give up. Jesus doesn't just invite us to a life of faithfulness, he gives us the power to do it. The Lord said to Paul, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9). And the same can be true of us. As we choose faithfulness, his grace sustain us, and we will find him walking with us. And we will be able to say with the apostle, "when I am weak, then I am strong."
I pray that you would strengthen me to walk in faithfulness. This isn't a sprint, Lord, it's a marathon. And I need your strength. I need you to teach me faithfulness. I won't (can't) do this in my own ability. I need you. I choose to lean on you.