How many times do you remember being told, “If you keep doing that . . .” something good or something bad will happen? If you keep crossing your eyes like that, they’ll stay that way!” Or maybe you said to your daughter, “If you keep crying, I’ll give you something to cry about!” Or “If you keep saving your money, you’ll be a millionaire someday!”
We like to continue doing things that bring pleasure or relaxation or achievement but we don’t like to keep on doing things that bring pain! Almost sounds like Paul in Romans 7: some things that I’d like to stop, I find hard to stop! I continue doing them even though I don’t like doing them. Or rather, we should say we don’t like the outcomes.
The Christian life is no different from any other in this regard: it is meant to be lived continually. The difference is that living christianly is a matter of living convertedly. It’s living the new life of a disciple every moment of every day and growing in that ability. There are things we’re to continue doing and things we’re not to continue doing.
In my recent devotional reading, I discovered at least ten things we are to continue doing and a couple we are warned against continuing.
The first one I discovered was to continue in the word. Jesus said, “If you continue in my word, then you are truly disciples of mine” (John 8:31). In other words, if we live out the things Jesus said to do, we will verify ourselves as Jesus-followers. A synonym for continue is “abide” or “remain.” Important words for John.
The practice of continuing in Christ’s word transforms our lives so that we look like Jesus in our own skin and personality (Rom 12:1-2). The fuel for continuing is God’s saving action in our lives. Jesus made it clear that being “of God” enables the disciple to “hear the words of God” (v. 47). Hearing is just another way of saying “doing.”
Continuing in the word of Jesus means an intentional life-long commitment to the study, meditation, reading and memorization of the word. This is the means to capturing the power of the unfolding universe of truth in Jesus that saves, restores, and transforms the soul increasingly reflecting the character of Christ in brighter and clearer ways.
So, what does that look like? At least these five things:
- It’s the mark of true, genuine and earnest Jesus-follower.
- It’s the discovery of the truth that sets us free from slavery to sins.
- It’s the realization that we are the spiritual descendants of Abraham.
- It’s the joy of being the children of the Father and no longer the children of wrath (i.e., the devil).
- It’s the privilege of hearing God’s word because we are his children.
Don’t let a day pass without the in-take of God’s word. And ask God to keep you from the vanity of “egg-head” knowledge. Enjoy learning new things from God, but ask him to prevent you from becoming “puffed up” in your accumulation of knowledge. It’s not about you! Ask the Spirit to use the word to do some heart-renovation so that your life radiates with the light and life of Christ and you become a valuable asset to others in your spheres of life.