Yesterday, we focused on Philippians 1:6, noting that God "who began a good work . . . will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." And, since we are to be "imitators of God" (Ephesians 5:1), it seems to me we oughta be about the business of persistence. It sure is easy to bail out theologically. You know, the age-old sovereignty cop-out. "If God wants such-and-such to happen, He's gonna have to do it all. I'm unable in myself." Now there may be a few occasions where that is an appropriate game plan; but by and large, His Spirit is willing, but our flesh is weak—dare I say lazy and indifferent? Unlike our Father, we tend to fade in the stretch.
May I get painfully personal? A proper, nutritional diet and a realistic program of exercise. Most folks I know have lost hundreds of pounds in their lifetime, only to put 'em on again. They all started well . . . but just about the time persistence was paying off, they quit. Believe me, I understand. That was the story of my life for about twenty years. But one day—one eventful, life-changing day—I stopped all the excuses (glands, stress, travel, reward for hard work, expensive wardrobe, not as heavy as a rhino, my wife Cynthia's good cooking, etc.) and began a sensible process of taking off and keeping off fifty-five unwanted and unhealthy pounds of fat.
People didn't help much. Can't remember the number of times they warned me about being too thin, that I shouldn't take such "risks." I was "looking ill." A rumor spread that I had cancer. Some thought I'd died. Would you believe that my wife got several sympathy cards expressing sorrow over my death? But I stayed at it. By the grace and power of Almighty God, I persisted.
All because of a simple, personal decision. Simple, yes . . . but easy? You gotta be kidding. Perhaps the single toughest decision of my adult life. Personal, yes . . . but automatic? It's still an everyday battle—no, three-times-a-day battle. And my relentless commitment to conditioning gets tougher every month, I openly confess. But with every mile I pound out in my sneakers, I cast another vote for persistence.
Enough about me—you've got the next season stretching out in front of you. Think of these weeks as a time framework for your own investment. Choose an objective carefully, state it clearly in writing, then, with the persistence of an athlete training for the next Olympiad, go for the goal!
Trust me; when this season gives way to the next, you'll be so glad you did. And by then, you'll have a new two-word motto:
Excerpt taken from Come before Winter and Share My Hope by Charles R. Swindoll. Copyright © 1985, 1988, 1994 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.
Used with permission. All rights reserved.
Featuring books for your permanent bookshelf from Charles R. Swindoll: Life Is 10% What Happens to You and 90% How You React - softcover book, and Growing Deep in the Christian Life: Essential Truths for Becoming Strong in the Faith.