Saturday, February 3, 2007


While watching my 9 month old today, I was reminded of the rewards of determination and persistence. In our family room, we have a small art table for our toddler and on top of it are small clay figures that he created with the help of his mom. For about 10 minutes, I watched my 9 month old try and try to reach one of those clay figures that was well out of his reach. He went from one side of the table to the other, stretching out as far as he could. After a few minutes of observation, I was certain there was no chance of him reaching them but I wanted to see how long he would keep after it. Eventually, he squeezed himself between the table and the wall and reaching as far as he could, he was still a couple inches short. Finally, he pushed the table away from the wall, moved in a little closer, and the next thing I know he grabbed the clay and as he does with everything, he started to chow down.
If you have kids you know this story is not unique. Young children can be so persistent. Passing by those golden arches or taking a trip to Walmart and just passing by the toy isles is all it takes to remind us of this fact. That quality can drive us nuts sometimes, but it can also teach us a valuable lesson. If we want our life to be one that is filled with success, nothing can take the place of determination and persistence.
From our careers, to education, to marriage, to parenting, to ministry, to character, and beyond, success often hinges on this quality. In every area of our life, we are faced with the temptation time and time again to quit. It is always easier to quit than it is to continue. Continuing requires hard work and sweat. It requires rolling up our sleeves and not stopping until the job is done. It requires focusing on a goal and letting nothing stop us from achieving that goal.
Proverbs 24:16 says "Though a just man falls seven times, he rises up again." The key is how we react to what life throws us. Get ready because life will throw you pain, disappointment, failure, and a host of other negative things that are designed to get you to throw in the towel. Those with persistence get back up, time after time after time. Like Rocky Balboa who takes a beating round after round yet somehow finds the strength to get up and fight one more round.
Those who were members of the early church knew what this was all about. "We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;" (II Cor. 4:8-9) They were hit from all sides but refused to let life whip them. That attitude is one that we all need in order to live a victorious life.
Has life hit you hard? Have you been knocked down by the circumstances of life? Have you tried and tried and continued to fail? Determine to get back up and go at it again. Make a decision to get back in the ring. It ain't over, til you say its over!

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