Do You Have It?

 

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Do you have what it takes?

 

 That seems to be a common question I hear today. It can relate to entering a college, going for a new job or a promotion, taking part in a race or any other type of competition, sitting for an exam, and a host of other choices. The question can cause me to wince inside and question myself even if I am adequately prepared. What is the question really asking me anyway?

 

The truth is that it can potentially relate to a broad spectrum of answers. It doesn’t just mean whether or not you have had the training or possess the skills, but it has more to do with whether or not you have the will, drive, passion, energy, character, etc. to succeed at whatever the question relates to.

 

In the end, the measure of my character may have more to do with whether or not I succeed than anything else.

 

One of the key elements of my character that comes into play is whether I will persevere. If you look at synonyms for perseverance you come up with a powerful list of words. You will find words like persistence, tenacity, determination, steadfastness, commitment, and endurance to name just a few. What is the etymology of the word? It is taken directly from the Latin perseverare that translates “continue steadfastly, persist”.

 

I don’t think perseverance is something that is very popular today in this “hurry-up” culture where most of us don’t want to wait on anything or anyone. Perseverance implies we will potentially be doing something for quite some time. How much we wish that would not be the case!

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More than a half dozen years ago I hired a personal trainer. I really do not like exercise and never played a sport as I was growing up. I needed to have someone who would hold me accountable and guide me in the process. I made the decision because I wanted to lose some weight of course, but also because I realized as I am getting older that my flexibility and endurance were diminishing. The fact that my workplace had a gym as part of its facilities on site and the personal trainer lived three minutes away made it all easier to comply. Did I enjoy it? I enjoyed the person who was the personal trainer, but certainly not what she asked and then pushed me to do. It was very evident to get endurance I would need to persevere or endure!

 

No matter what age or season of life, perseverance is needed to achieve (or keep) anything we want to accomplish or have already gained. I see that when I watch my two oldest grandchildren dig into their study schedule at the end of a college semester when they feel like they can’t take it any more. I see it with the person who has a job that she doesn’t prefer and needs to still go to work each day.

 

Beyond all that, it is a requirement for our spiritual lives. The Bible has more than a few places where the words endure or endurance shows up. One of my favorite passages is found in Hebrews 12:1-2:

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

 

 Developing perseverance is absolutely essential not only for our success, but also oftentimes for our survival. Satan is very persistent. Add to that the challenges of living in a fallen world and you have the right recipe that points to our need to endure and persevere.

 

I could likely offer a list of how perseverance is developed, but I think Paul says it best in Romans 5: 1-5 (ESV):

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice  in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

 

Through the various Bible passages that speak of perseverance and endurance I see a great deal of evidence that points to the Lord’s admonition that we are to endure. One of them is in Matthew 24:13 (KJV): “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” The verse comes in the midst of Jesus speaking of the end times.

 

So how do I answer my opening question? The truth is that I don’t have it. But He does and since He calls me to have it and I am His daughter I know that He will equip me and bring what is needed for my good and His glory. His Word promises that in the passages I cited as well as many others.

 

What a relief to know that as I yield to Him each day, I (through Him) will have what it takes.

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27 thoughts on “Do You Have It?

  1. Character is the core of being about to make it in what ever you try to do. We had a couple with one cute little girl come to the country we were serving in and after about two weeks my husband said, I don’t know about ….he seems a little lazy. One day his wife told me, without me saying a word, that his mother apologize to her when she married him. She had spoiled him and never made him do hard things, he played video game all day because that is what he like to do. AFter working with him for about a year and half no other couples wanted to team up with them to go into a tribe because they had picked up on the same thing. It came time to sit down with them and encouraged them to return home and since he loved computers go to school and get a degree in computer programming or what ever else applied to computers. You know he did just that and they are doing great. What the enemy wanted to use to destroy this couple, God used for their good and His glory. We had another couple, same issue with the man, but he was not teachable, so he has to this point done nothing about his being lazy. Great post.

  2. Fascinating, Pam! This whole issue of character is huge and pivotal, isn’t it. We can have our heads stuffed with knowledge but without character, wisdom, people skills, and grace we go nowhere fast.

    Great topic, friend … so very helpful and wise.

    1. Thanks, dear lady! I have heard someone else say it is not the content of our resume or portfolio that matters, but rather the content of our character! As a clinical counselor for more than 25 years, I cannot help but strongly agree since those who say in my office were those who either had character issues or were wounded by others who had them!!

  3. Have you read “Grit” yet? It speaks so much about the importance of persevering. An excellent book. But I, too, am grateful that ultimately it’s more about Christ’s perseverance than our own though!

    1. I haven’t, but based on your recommendation and the reviews I saw I just ordered it! I know I can always trust your suggestions!! Thanks!!

  4. the whole world highlights what ‘you’ can do in your own efforts, but praise God, the good news of Jesus is that He doesn’t ask us to ‘do’ anything in our own strength, but provides His strength to do it through us. Thanks for the reminder!

  5. Hi Pam! I remember when I spent time with a personal trainer…well, there were three of them. They kept quitting on me! Lol! But I do think you have perseverance, although you may wish for more. And you’re not alone there. I know I wish to stick to things better and more strongly than I do now. To me, that’s another way to strive for holiness. You mention that you don’t have it, but that He does, and that’s so true. How beautiful that He wants to shower us with it, so we can be like him.

    Blessings to you on your way,
    Ceil

  6. Perseverance and endurance are so important when we are trying to achieve anything of lasting value. If you know that your goals are positive and clearly defined, then perseverance and endurance are the tools for achieving your goals . . . even when you feel like quitting.

  7. Hi, Pam – Nice to connect with you again at Wednesday AIM Link Up. I like what you say about perseverance. Never easy but holds many keys!

  8. I’m challenged just by the fact that you hired a personal trainer. Wow.
    What you say about perseverance is certainly true. Even in our relationship with God, showing up is the hardest part, and He more than meets every bit of effort we expend in developing that relationship.

    1. Ah, shucks!! I know my weaknesses, my friend, so I went to someone who could shore them up. I actually walked with another friend who is a personal trainer for 45 minutes this morning who gave me tips, checked my heart rate afterward, etc.

      You are so right about showing up to be with God….everything seems to challenge or get in the way whether it is “just life” or the enemy or both! Have a great evening and watch out for the weather that is heading your way according to news reports tonight!

  9. Hi Pam,
    I learned a lot about perseverance on Sunday when I finished my first half-marathon. All the training involved was hard work and to be honest I never really had the confidence that I could finish. Towards the end it just felt like my body was going to collapse, lol. I love when you said that God is the one who has the perseverance and through Him He gives us the endurance we need to finish.

    1. Hi Valerie! Wow! Congratulations! My daughter ran a half-marathon a few years ago and I have an appreciation and respect for what that requires!!! Thanks so much for your encouraging comments!

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