“I learned patience, perseverance, and dedication. Now I really know myself, and I know my voice. It’s a voice of pain and victory. –
Anthony Hamilton, American Musician
PERSEVERANCE – means steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. The Latin perseverant means “abiding by strictly.” When we persevere, it means that we continue in a course of action even when it’s hard and there seems to be little prospect of a favorable outcome. Perseverance is an attribute of faith – which lives in the realm of what is hoped for, yet unseen. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said, “Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.“
American inventor Thomas Edison held 1,093 patents, and developed many devices including the phonograph (record player), the motion picture camera, and the long-lasting, practical electric light bulb. Edison is a quintessential figure on the topic of perseverance, coming to his eureka light-bulb moment after 10,000 attempts. He emphatically stated, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not
realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” What if Edison had quit on his 9,999th attempt? Most of us wouldn’t have made it past the 9th! What Edison called, ‘sick-to-itiveness’ was one of his 3 great essentials to achieve anything, along with hard work and common sense. He said, “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember…you haven’t.” Someone said that the hardest decision in life is deciding whether to ‘walk away,’ ‘try again’ or ‘try harder.’
James said PERSEVERANCE, or endurance under trial does something wonderful within us. It perfects our character and matures us, if we allow it to do so. James 1:2-4, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” Too often we cut and run before perseverance has had the chance to complete her perfect work and we miss out not only on the success of accomplishment, but in producing the Spirit’s fruit of faith and patience.
In Luke 21, Jesus told His disciples they would face serious trials for associating with Him as Messiah, including possible death and betrayal by their families and friends (vs. 16). Though natural disaster and personal difficulty lay ahead, he admonished, “By your patient endurance you will will gain your souls.” (verse 19) Perseverance corrals our emotions and harnesses our will. Superbowl winning Coach Vince Lombardi had much to say about this, “There’s only one way to succeed in anything, and that’s to give it everything. The real glory is being knocked to your knees and then coming back. That’s the essence of it. It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get back up.
Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit. Football is a great deal like life in that it teaches that work, sacrifice, perseverance, competitive drive, selflessness, and respect for authority are the price each and every one of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.” I wish my teachers had put more emphasis on the character quality of perseverance. It is said that, “Anything worth having is worth fighting for,” and “Difficult roads lead to beautiful destinations.” So let perseverance finish it’s work.
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