There’s a quote from the great Albert Einstein that brings me some comfort. “I myself have no special talent; curiosity, obsession, and dogged endurance have brought me to my ideas. It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer.” You may read that and think, I could stare at E=mc2 all day long and never come up with the theory of relativity. I’m right there with you! Of course Einstein was brilliant, but what he’s attributing his success to is very true.
Your perseverance and grit and sheer stick-with-it-ness will be a deciding factor in many things you want to do. There’s going to be days you’re not feeling it, but push through. Many people’s number one decision making criteria is, “Do I feel like doing that?” That’s a horrible criteria.
Let that not be said of us as Jesus followers. Feelings and emotions have a place in decisions, but it’s not first place. Instead we should be asking questions like, “What is the right thing to do? The loving thing to do? What’s most honoring and glorifying to God?”
The final thing Nehemiah did to persevere was he simply chose to. Perseverance isn’t an emotion, it’s a choice. Our willingness to choose to press on. Good leaders refuse to bow to the enemy; they remember the Lord, and then DO what needs to be done.
This is why I love Nehemiah so much; that was the story of his life. Verse 21 says, “So we worked early and late, from sunrise to sunset.” Then verse 23 says, “During this time, none of us, not I, nor my relatives, nor my servants, nor the guards who were with me—ever took off our clothes.” (NLT) Now that’s some serious sweat-equity! What an example of grit and perseverance.
The simple act of persevering can grow us toward spiritual maturity. James 1:4 tells us so. “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” If we choose to walk in the footsteps of Jesus we will live lives of sacrifice. The act of holding onto Jesus through painful times draws us closer to Him and conforms us to be like Him.
What situation is God calling you to persevere through? How can you choose to embrace the invitation of James 1:4?