I was talking to a friend last week and he made a comment that got me thinking. He mentioned that things today are more "... difficult and complicated than when we were growing up."
At first I was not so sure I agreed. And then after more contemplation, I was sure that I didn't agree. Yes it is true that today's technology has changed our culture and society, but difficulty is difficulty and complication is still complication. What really has changed is our willingness and dedication to perseverance. Perseverance is the action of driving through obstacles even though they seem insurmountable at the time. There are two types of motivators that move us to persevere.
The first motivator is driving through the obstacle because we are scared out of our minds. For instance, we are scared that we are going to get fired; we are scared that we will not be liked; we are scared that we are going to get hurt.
The second motivator is kicking in with perseverance for the sake of growth, maturity and for integrity. We push through because we must self-preserve and grow through the experience.
In James 1:2-4, Scripture says, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
This second type of perseverance is one God wants us to practice. He wants us to push through tough experiences as we lean on our faith, trust and love for Him so that it builds up our perseverance or drive. As our drive gets larger for reasons of faith and witness, then our maturity will also grow.
In Hebrews 12:1, we find that, "A huge cloud of witnesses is all around us. So let us throw off everything that stands in our way. Let us throw off any sin that holds onto us so tightly. Let us keep on running the race with perseverance that is marked out for us."
Essentially, we are in a race. We are on a path that has already been designed for us. As we run that race, we strive to finish well, and in order to do that; we must push off all obstacles that stand in our way. We become an example for others. It can be too easy to simply drop out or stop running. Running a race is no joke. The start of the race is enjoyable, finishing is hard work. To finish well ... that is glory. To finish well is perseverance.
• Jack Negrete is pastor of Carson Valley Christian Center in Dayton and a member of the Dayton Ministerial Fellowship.