Plain old perseverance never hurt anyone

I like the word “persevere.” It’s fun to say, but hard to do.

The beginning of a new year always gets people thinking about goals and what they’d like to accomplish as they set out to conquer another 365 days. There’s just something fresh and clean about January 1. It’s like we’ve been given a metaphorical clean slate upon which we can write anything, do anything, accomplish anything.

And yet, accomplishing something…anything…is difficult without perseverance.

As Christians, we are called to persevere in (and through) life. In Galatians 6:9, we read “We will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Oh those tricky cause-and-effect statements. Notice it’s not “We will reap a harvest. Period.” It’s “We will reap a harvest IF we do not give up.”

Too often we set out to do something great, something like lose weight, eat more healthy foods, quit smoking or move to a foreign city. Maybe we start a job search or desire to read through a list of books. We begin with a youthful zeal, and we make it a few hours or days or maybe even months. And then, we fall off the horse. We lose interest. Perhaps self-doubt sets in. Maybe those Twinkies look way too delicious.

Suddenly, we say, “Oh, I’ll do that later today. I’ll start that tomorrow. Or maybe next week.” More likely we say, “Oh, that will be a New Year’s resolution next year.” Or worse, we say, “I just can’t do it,” and we give up entirely.

That puts us right back where we started. Wanting to reap. But, not wanting to sow. Wanting all the benefits of something without having to put in any effort.

We can hardly expect to blessed in life just because I am me and you are you. Not one of us is entitled to anything. We can, however, expect great things if we focus our attention on the One who is capable of bestowing blessings. We can expect blessings. We can expect results.

We can succeed because we are determined, not because we are entitled. We can succeed because we put forth effort. We can succeed at whatever we put our minds to, if we persevere.

If we seek and trust God, first and foremost. If we set goals, and we practice being relentless. If we continue on until a task is done. If we recognize that life isn’t about being easy, but about living and learning and leaning on God, trusting that He will run our race alongside us.

After all, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). We surely can persevere.

So, what’s keeping you from persevering?

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