Do you give up too easily? Do you keep wishing for the easy way out of everything you face? It’s likely you, like me, could use a lesson or two in how to persevere. Lots of people make good starts; not everyone completes the course.
We read in Hebrews 12:1 that we should run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Note that each of us has a unique race marked out. Your race may be different from mine, but the important thing for both of us is to hang in there and cross the finish line.
The night is darkest just before the dawn, and all too often we quit the race when it gets dark and bleak, when the finish line is just around the corner. In the first chapter of James we read that “perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:4). Without perseverance we won’t reach spiritual maturity. That’s why we need to learn perseverance.
How often do you feel like quitting? I can remember saying to the Lord, “What use is it, Lord? I don’t see light at the end of the tunnel and I’d just like to walk away from the whole thing.” You know, if you have those kinds of thoughts you might as well talk to God about them. He knows what you’re thinking anyway. But God reminded me that I’m called to be faithful, to persevere, and I had to learn it all over again.
Hebrews 12:13 says “Don’t wander away from the path but forge steadily onward. On the right path the limping foot recovers strength and does not collapse” (Phillips Version). Therefore, we need to make certain we’re on the right path, and then stay on it regardless. Even if you’re just limping along, don’t stop. As we hang in there, our limps are healed and we’re able to cross the finish line.
How often do we quit as soon as we develop a limp? We failed, we weren’t able to accomplish something we had planned, the resources we were counting on didn’t come through, things didn’t go as smoothly as we hoped. We got a “hitch in our get-along,” and that ended the race for us. But the Bible says keep going on the right path even with your limp.
Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:2). Proving faithful is perseverance, and we can learn to be faithful and to persevere. I’ll take a faithful person any day over one with bigger talents or gifts who isn’t willing to hang in and get the job done—to stick with it through thick and thin times.