“Grit is that ‘extra something’ that separates the most successful people from the rest. It’s the passion, perseverance, and stamina that we must channel in order to stick with our dreams until they become a reality.” – Travis Bradberry – Author
Several weeks ago I started an aerobic exercise program that has three levels that increase in intensity. Of course the fitness guru does all the exercises with ease, smiling through them while encouraging us viewers that we can do it…as we pant for our lives! Some of the exercises are simple and easy; others not so much—as we work to stretch and strengthen muscles that have rarely if ever been used. One purpose behind moving from level to level with the exercises is to increase our strength, flexibility, and stamina. This is done by a lot of sometimes painful repetitions that exhaust the muscle. Who knew you sometimes need to take yourself to your limit in order to really grow? Have you ever started an exercise routine and then the same week…looked at yourself in the mirror or weighed yourself to see if pounds and inches had fallen off? Uh…you haven’t been doing it long enough yet. The natural mirrors the spiritual—some things take years to achieve…maybe you haven’t been doing it long enough and you need stamina.
Webster defines STAMINA as the bodily or mental capacity to sustain a prolonged stressful effort or activity: endurance; or the moral or emotional strength to continue with a difficult process, effort, etc.: staying power. Endurance, whether in marriage and family, business, or ministry, means you’re in it for the long haul and you will persevere no matter the season. I’m wondering if anyone told you as a child that you had to build your physical, mental, moral, and emotional stamina to have a good quality of life. Did they explain that some of the more difficult/ strenuous situations you face are building your strength? I don’t recall that conversation.
Even our engagement in the things of God requires stamina. The writer of Hebrews chided the Believing Jews, calling them sluggish of hearing because they were disinclined to listen to spiritual truth. He said, 12For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Hebrews 5:12-14) In this way, spiritual growth and maturity is like lean muscle mass in exercise—if you don’t use it…you lose it.
These days our culture is strongly against doing anything difficult, exhausting, or strenuous, whether physical or spiritual. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) reports that in 2020 nearly 74% of Americans were overweight or obese (40% were obese). Many Christians are spiritually fat, having spent years under teaching and in worship services yet doing nothing to exercise or activate their faith. Here’s a question—”If God gave you what you’re asking Him for, would you have the stamina (physical, mental, emotional, financial, relational, spiritual) to do it?“