But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; ~2 Timothy 3:14
What’s the secret to finishing the Christian life victoriously well? The Apostle Paul was in the Mamertine prison and counting down the days before he would be executed for being a preacher of the gospel. He was concerned for the spiritual welfare of a young pastor named Timothy. As Paul closed out his final letter to Timothy, He gave this young man strong encouragement to help him stay faithful to his calling. In one word, Paul gave Timothy what he needed to keep going. That word is “continue.”
We see the pressures.
Paul reminded Timothy of the many pressures he faced in ministry. There are the pressures of setbacks. Paul called this the perilous times that would come. This included values shifting in the wrong direction. There was the pressure of sedition. There are those who declare themselves the enemy of the Christian faith. There are the pressures of suffering. Paul described the afflictions and persecutions he encountered for preaching the gospel. Pressures squeeze us. Pressures are Satan’s means to get us to quit. Pressures are Satan’s means to get us to lose our desire and intensity for serving God.
We see the priority.
“But continue thou…” Paul makes a stirring command to Timothy. He simply, but strongly tells him to be steadfast in the things he was taught and reinforced in. First, we must continue in doctrines of the faith. Satan despises that we are dogmatic about the Bible and its fundamentals. If we loosen up on doctrine, it isn’t long until we don’t care about what we believe. Second, we must continue in the duties of the faith. Foremost is a strong evangelism and soulwinning emphasis. When we change or loosen up in this area, it isn’t long until the fire in the church declines and zeal turns to indifference.
We see the pattern.
“But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.” Paul reminded Timothy of his example and model. Paul reminded Timothy that he did not deviate or change. Yes, he felt the pressures! Yes, he had to deal with rejection and hatred! Yes, he had stones thrown at him and was left for dead! However, Paul remained upright, upbeat, and did not let any of these things to slow him down or stop him from preaching the gospel, starting churches, and training preachers. In effect, Paul was telling Timothy to follow his example.
We see the persistence.
Persistence is staying in the race. Persistence is the determination that you will not quit. Persistence is getting up after you have been knocked down. Persistence is being pressed to the mat, but refusing to be pinned. Continuing in the things which we have learned and have been taught is remaining steadfast and moving forward with persistence. The longer we journey on the open sea there is the potential of us encountering rough waters. The longer we serve the Lord we will experience grievous disappointments, heartache, rejection, and defeat. However, through persistence we can make it.
Make it your goal this year to continue and not deviate or quit. Continue thou!
Have a resolute God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Genesis 8-11