I was watching a TED talk last week given by Dr. Angela Lee Duckworth on the key indicators of one's success in life and specifically in education. (If you don't know about TED talks, they are 10-15 minutes talks about "ideas worth sharing" given by innovative thinkers.) Dr. Duckworth's research focused upon various institutions including West Point, schools, the National Spelling Bee, teachers, salespeople and students. In her search to isolate the key characteristics of a successful person, she first looked at several of the standard assumptions about successful people: intelligence and IQ, family of origin, economic background, social influences, etc. It turned out none of these characteristics were deterministic or predictors of success. Time and again, her research turned up a surprising result: the determining factor for one being successful is good ole' fashion grit. Grit is IT! Indomitable character... one's "stick to it-ness" is the number one characteristic of successful people. In the face of many obstacles, trials and setbacks one keeps on pushing ahead.
Perseverance is another word for "grit" and it is a key player not only in our worldly pursuits; it is a key ingredient for followers of Christ. Romans 5:3 reminds those in difficult times that perseverance is part of a Christ like life, leading to character and hope. Finally, hope is fulfilled by God's presence among us.
James 1:2-4 below makes the point even clearer: opportunities of perseverance and your persevering through them, do make you successful in the Kingdom of God.
Being a follower of Christ is not easy and it will always have its challenges. You will have many opportunities to persevere or find an easier way out. The easier way is not necessarily a bad way (if you are overwhelmed in life, perhaps that is God's offer of respite!). However, if you want to become a mighty "warrior" for God or become the best "you" God has in store for you, the path of perseverance is for you.
As we are growing into our "what's next" at Cross Way, I want to remind you that perseverance has been a key ingredient of God's work so far. If the past is any indicator of the future, perseverance will play a key in what's next.
I hope when you face challenges in life, so far as it depends upon you, that you will not shy away from challenges but will go boldly into them with a spirit of perseverance ... or good ole' GRIT.
Blessings to you all and see you Sunday!
In Christ with you,