This year, persevere (parts 2 – 5)

Part 2
‘We will reap a harvest if we do not give up.’ Galatians 6:9
It’s said that Walt Disney’s request for a loan was rejected by 301 banks before he finally got “yes.” But because he refused to quit, he built the world’s most famous theme park. So, this year remember two things: 1) Perseverance is needed to win the prize . At a sales convention the manager said to 2000 of his firm’s sales force, ‘Did the Wright brothers ever quit?’ ‘No!’ they responded. ‘Did Charles Lindburg ever quit?’ ‘No!’ they shouted. ‘Did Lance Armstrong ever quit?’ ‘No!’ they bellowed. ‘Did Thorndike McKester ever quit?’ There was a long, confused silence. Then a salesperson shouted, ‘Who in the world is Thorndike McKester? Nobody’s ever heard of him.’ The sales manager snapped back, ‘Of course you haven’t; that’s because he quit!’ Quitters never win, and winners never quit. 2) Perseverance turns adversity into advancement. Paul writes, ‘Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel’ (Philippians 1:12 NIV). Paul didn’t give up; he rose up! How did he do it? He found the benefit to him personally that comes from every trial. One Christian author writes: ‘Today we’re obsessed with speed, but God is more interested in strength and stability. We want the quick fix, the shortcut, the on-the-spot solution. We want a sermon, a seminar or an experience that will instantly resolve all problems, remove all temptation and release us from all growing pains. But real maturity is never the result of a single experience, no matter how powerful or moving.’ Growth is gradual. The Bible says, ‘Our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters…and we become like him’ (2 Corinthians 3:18 TM).

Part 3
‘We will reap a harvest if we do not give up.’ Galatians 6:9
Observe two more things about perseverance: 1) Perseverance means stopping not because you’re tired, but because the task is done. Diplomat Robert Strauss quipped, ‘Success is like wrestling a 1000-pound gorilla. You don’t quit when you are tired; you quit when the gorilla is tired.’ When you’re fresh, excited and energetic you work at a task with vigour. Only when you become weary do you need perseverance. The Apostle Paul recognised this: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Fatigue and discouragement are not reasons to quit, they’re reasons to draw closer to God, rely on our character and keep going. We underestimate what it takes to succeed. When we haven’t counted the cost we approach challenges with mere interest; what’s required is total commitment! 2) Perseverance doesn’t demand more than we have, but all that we have. Author Frank Tyger observed, “In every triumph, there is a lot of try.” But perseverance means more than just trying or working hard. Perseverance is an investment. It’s a willingness to bind yourself emotionally, intellectually, physically and spiritually to an idea, purpose or task until it has been completed. Perseverance demands a lot, but here’s the good news: everything you give is an investment in yourself. Each time you do the right thing – seek God, work hard, treat others with respect, learn and grow – you invest in yourself. To do these things every day takes perseverance, but if you do them your success is guaranteed. As author Judy Wardell Halliday said, “Dreams only become reality, when we keep our commitments to them.”

Part 4
‘We will reap a harvest if we do not give up.’ Galatians 6:9
Perseverance is a trait that can be cultivated, and the initial step to cultivating it is to eliminate two of its greatest enemies. These are: 1) A lifestyle of giving up. A little boy was promised an ice cream cone if he was good while accompanying his grandfather on some errands. The longer they were gone the more difficult the boy was finding it to be good. ‘How much longer will it be?’ he asked. ‘Not too long,’ replied the grandfather, ‘we’ve just got one more stop.’ ‘I don’t know if I can make it, Grandpa,’ the little boy said. ‘I can be good. I just can’t be good enough long enough.’ As children we can get away with that, but not as mature people, and certainly not if we expect to succeed in what God’s called us to do. 2) A wrong belief that life should be easy. Paul told Timothy he must ‘endure hardness, as a good soldier’ (2 Timothy 2:3). Having the right expectations is half the battle. Clinical psychologist John C Norcross found the great characteristic that distinguishes those who reach their goals from those who don’t; expectation! Both types of people experience the same amount of failure during the first month they strive for their goals. Members of the successful group don’t expect to succeed right away; they view their failures as a reason to re-commit and re-focus on their goals with more determination. Norcross says, ‘Those who were unsuccessful say a relapse is evidence they can’t do it. They are the ones who have a wrong belief that life should be easy.’ Bottom line: ‘We count them blessed who endure’ (James 5:11 NKJV).

Part 5
‘We will reap a harvest if we do not give up.’ Galatians 6:9
Here are three more enemies of perseverance you’ll have to defeat each day of this year: 1) Lack of resiliency. Harvard professor George Vaillant identifies resiliency as a significant characteristic of people who navigate the different seasons of life from birth to old age. In his book Aging Well he writes, ‘Resilient people are like a twig with a fresh, green, living core. When twisted out of shape the twig bends but it doesn’t break; instead it springs back and continues growing.’ That’s an excellent description of perseverance. We must not become dry, brittle and inflexible. We must draw on God’s grace and endeavour to bounce back no matter how we feel. 2) Lack of vision. Everything that’s created is actually created twice. First it’s created mentally, then it’s created physically. And where does our creativity come from? God, our Creator, who made us in His likeness (Genesis 1:27). A God-given vision will keep you moving forward when nothing else will. The lack of one will stop you dead in your tracks. 3) Lack of purpose. Rich Demoss remarked, ‘Persistence is stubbornness with a purpose.’ It’s very difficult to develop persistence when you lack a sense of purpose. Conversely, when you have a passionate sense of purpose, energy rises, obstacles become incidental and perseverance wins out. World champion boxer Mohammad Ali said, ‘Champions aren’t made in the gyms, they are made from something they have deep inside them; a desire, a dream, a vision. They have last-minute stamina. They have to be a little faster, and they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.’

till next time,
easy does it 🙂


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