But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it. (2 Timothy 3:14)
Christ commanded us that we should abide in his love continually - not just when the mood strikes us, not just when the circumstances seem right, not just when we find it convenient for our schedules, not just when it is noticed and applauded by others, but continually, in all circumstances, every day, no matter what.
Do you have this kind of steadfastness? Do you continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed even when it is difficult? Sometimes the greater challenges are not the moments when we face opposition - those situations can even motivate us to strive harder! But the situations that are mundane, tedious, even boring, when nothing seems to be happening - those are the more difficult ones to remain steadfast in.
The words of Paul to Timothy, quoted above, reminded him of the lifestyles of those who had discipled him. They revealed the love of God to him through facing hardships and enduring them steadfastly. Paul reminded him of his own conduct, faith, patience, love, and steadfastness that endured “persecutions and sufferings” (3:10-11). He reminded him of his grandmother Lois, and his mother Eunice (1:5) who had taught him and modeled the faith before him from his childhood (3:15). Discipleship is not just teaching principles. It is also living out those principles before others.
We may think that our lives in Christ should be problem free, a smooth and gentle path to eternity. But rarely do lives work out like this. Proverbs 3:5-6 promises that if we commit our way to the Lord, that if we do not lean on our own understanding but instead trust in God’s greater wisdom, that He will make our paths straight. The meaning of this is not that He will remove all of the problems in life, but that He will show us the simple right path to take, even if it means removing some obstacles from the way ourselves.
For those who would like to remove mountains without getting their hands dirty, James speaks a clear word: “Without works faith is dead” (James 2:17). The meaning of that passage is not that works can replace our faith, for faith is primary. Rather he was saying that an un-involved faith is not a true faith. A faith that says, “I believe,” but does not lift a finger to help anyone or live a moment in a public witness for Christ is not faith at all.
Let me be clear on this matter. God alone is able to do God-sized tasks. Faith in Him, and not faith in faith alone, is what He looks for to do these miraculous things we call “moving mountains.” But the people whose faith God honors will have the dirt of some mountain under their fingernails, and they will match their faith with their actions. They will be steadfast in both motives and motions.
The issue is not whether discouragement, fatigue, or distractions have ever darkened our doorway. The issue is not whether we have ever stumbled and fallen, for, as Isaiah said, even young men do that (Isaiah 40:30). The issue is simply whether or not we are continuing to follow Christ in the means that He has given us to do so each day. Are we steadfast for Christ?