One of the realities of the Christian life is that it’s way too easy for us to get stalled on our spiritual journey. Usually the pattern goes something like this: we start out strong, and with a real commitment to follow God, no matter what. But then challenges come up, or our own desires get in the way, or things don’t turn out the way we thought they would, and the result is that the stuff of everyday life on this earth gets our focus off of God, and on to the situations around us. And then, when our focus moves from God to whatever is happening around us, we find ourselves stalled spiritually - meaning we’re not moving forward with God.
I know this to be true, because I’ve experienced it myself. And while I wish I could say that this "stalling spiritually" has only happened once in my life (and that I learned my lesson from that one experience) the truth is, it happens more than I would like. But I know I’m not alone in this struggle, as I’ve talked with other believers who struggle with the same thing. That’s why 1 John 2:28-29 is one of my favorite verses to hold on to when I begin to realize that I haven’t been growing in my walk with God. If you’re not familiar with that verse, here’s what it says: “Continue to live in fellowship with Christ so that when He returns, you will be full of courage and not shrink back from Him in shame. Since we know that God is always right, we also know that all who do what is right are His children.”
When I realize that I’m “getting stalled spiritually”, this verse jolts me back to reality. It’s so easy for us to get distracted by the challenges of this life, and in those times, it's hard to lift our eyes from our current circumstances and look beyond the horizon to that time when we’ll be reunited with Jesus. And that's why John reminds us that, if we can focus on our final destination, and continue to live in fellowship with God, it will give us the motivation we need to continue this journey in a way that honors God.
But what John is saying in this passage goes beyond our simple understanding of what it means to “continue”, because he’s not just talking about moving forward in a “go with the flow” sort of way. Instead, John’s talking about a conscious decision to move forward, no matter what we are facing. The Greek word he uses in this passage for “continue” is “meno”, and it means to “persist in specific action”. So John’s describing an intentional perseverance in our walk with God that keeps us moving forward, even when we face difficulties and problems.
It's a truth that God has to regularly remind me of, and it's a truth that we all need to grab hold of. So today, let’s ask God to help us live our Christian life with the end in mind. Let’s ask Him to help us look beyond our current circumstances, instead of getting involved in the distractions of this world. Today, let’s commit to consciously persisting in living deliberately and passionately for God.