There is something exciting about a bright, shiny, new beginning, isn’t there? A new project, a new start, a new book, a new year, a new routine. Whatever happened before, we can start fresh.
Perhaps that’s the appeal of New Year’s resolutions, even though most people confess to not keeping them or even making them even more.
Granted, we all need to make time to take stock, to adjust our routines, to see what needs to change—whether we do that on Jan. 1 or some other time.
But sometimes we need to set our faces and purposes once again to continue something we’ve already started, to stay the course, to keep going.
A few weeks ago, the pastor of the church we were visiting spoke from Colossians. I happened to notice the word “continue” in a couple of places in the book, which brought to mind a couple of other verses that used the word. I looked into the word more after I got home and then again last week.
What does God want us to continue?
Fearing the Lord: Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the Lord all the day (Proverbs 23:17, ESV).
Being in His Word: “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed (John 8:31, KJV; ESV says “abide”).
In His love: “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love (John 15:9, KJV, ESV says “abide”).
Gathering with other believers to pray, fellowship, learn doctrine: “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren . . . And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 1:14; 2:42, KJV; ESV has “devoting themselves.” Though this is not a command here, it is in Hebrews 10:25).
“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us” (1 John 2:19, ESV).
Speaking His Word with boldness: “And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness” (Acts 4:29, ESV).
In His grace: “And after the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who, as they spoke with them, urged them to continue in the grace of God” (Acts 13:43, ESV; also “continue” in the KJV).
In the faith: “Strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22, ESV; also “continue” in the KJV).
“If indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven” (Colossians 1:23, ESV; same in KJV).
In His kindness: “Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off” (Romans 11:22, ESV; also “continue” in the KJV).
In prayer: “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving” (Colossians 4:2, ESV; also in KJV).
In what you have learned and believed: “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:14-15, ESV; also in KJV).
Continue in doctrine: “Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee” (1 Timothy 4:16, KJV; ESV, “persist”).).
In brotherly love: “Let brotherly love continue” (Hebrews 13:1, ESV; also in KJV).
In the perfect law of liberty: “But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:25, NKJV; “perseveres” in the ESV).
Though this same concept may be displayed in other words (abide, dwell), these passages give us plenty to think about for the moment, don’t they?
With all the excitement of the new, let’s not forget the foundation and steadiness of the old.
Mac Lynch wrote a beautiful song incorporating the words of 2 Timothy 3:14: “Continue thou in the things thou hast learned.” He wrote this when he was the music director at The Wilds Christian Camp. I don’t know if this is how the song was used, but I can imagine it being sung the last night of camp week, urging campers to continue on with the Lord, not to make decisions at camp and then forget them when back in their regular worlds. I know it won’t be familiar to most of you, but I hope you’ll give it a listen and be blessed and encouraged by it:
And of course, the only way to continue these things is if we had at one time begun them. If you haven’t, this as as good a day as any to do so. Especially if you don’t know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, I invite you to learn more here.
(I often link up with some of these bloggers.)
Loved this perspective Ms. Barbara. Often, I think of New Year’s resolutions with a negative slant. I’m not going to eat as much. I’m not going to get as angry. I’m not going to do whatever sinful or immoral thing I’ve been doing. Rather than focusing on what you won’t do, focus on what God wants you to do. I’ve heard the difference between stubbornness and tenacity described as, “Stubbornness comes from a strong won’t. Tenacity comes from a strong will.” Tenacity says despite the discomfort, pain, or peril, I WILL continue toward the goal. Let us continue, in God’s will, toward His goal for us. God’s blessings ma’am.
That’s a good distinction between stubbornness and tenacity. Sometimes a new start or project seems more exciting than keeping on with the old—but these things God wants us to continue in are so essential. And they can be exciting, too. Not that we live for excitement. But the Christian life is far from dull.
Love this post. God wants us to continue. That’s how we learn patience and fortitude.
Good thoughts about learning patience and fortitude this way.
Yes, continue. Continue loving Him and sharing His love with others. A great message to read today and every day. Have a blessed week!
Thanks so much, Melissa. May He give us grace to continue doing His will as long as He gives us breath.
I love this. Continuing seems similar to persistence. I have often noted, especially in recent years, how many people don’t seem to have much follow-through. Specifically, someone will mention wanting to get together. I’ll agree (often not really especially wanting to), knowing that most likely the other person won’t pursue it — and they usually don’t. I guess we pursue — or continue — the things that are important to us. I pray that prayer and Bible reading will always be items like that for me.
Sometimes the new seems more exciting than continuing the old. But the Christian life is not dull in the long run. I hope and pray, too, that He will give us grace to continue in His Word and prayer.
Good perspective! Starting is good, but continuing demonstrates faithfulness, persistence, and patience. The message I heard this morning went along with this – as believers we are told to “spur one another on” or “provoke one another” to good deeds. Perhaps one way to do that is to encourage each other to be faithful and continue the good things we’ve started.
What a good application. It is a help along the way when we can spur each other along and encourage each other to stay the course.
This was such an encouragement to me this morning! God help me to continue on with all He has asked me to do this year. May He find us all faithful!
There are times now when it’s trying
to have to face another dawn,
but even though I’m slowly dying
I really do want to go on.
It’s not that there is a season
for coming grand things in my life;
no, there is far better reason:
to be here to help my wife
and take off her daily burdens,
walk the dogs and feed the cat,
and make always extra certain
of the care she needs so that
she might grace and skill refine
that in the wide world she may shine.
It’s interesting to see how many times “continue” is used in scripture, Barbara. Perseverance isn’t always one of my strengths, but it is clearly important to God.
This is a great point! It is easy to get excited by the new opportunities but there is a lot of value in simply continuing faithfully.
Amen & amen! Thank you Barbara that’s a powerful reminder to continue in the good fight.
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