Choosing Perseverance over Defeat

Choosing Perseverance over Defeat

Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
–1 Corinthians 10:31

There are a lot of people who get lost in life because they have no idea where they are going. I think about the rich Texas businessman who went to the airline counter and said, “Ma’am, give me a first-class ticket.” She said, “Sir, where do you want to go?” He said, “It doesn’t matter. I’ve got business everywhere.” Some people are like that. But there are other people who have a clear destination in mind. They even have a map to get them to where they think God wants them to be in their lives, but they get lost along the way. They give up. They get distracted before they arrive at their intended destination. Why? Because they fail to adopt the attitude of perseverance.

What do we mean by perseverance? Perseverance is the determination to continue pursuing your God-given dream in spite of unexpected setbacks, undeserved criticism, and unrelenting hard work. Perseverance is the attitude that says, “I will not give up.” During the dark days of World War II, Winston Churchill had the job of holding his nation together under relentless attacks by Nazi Germany. When they were threatened with invasion and perhaps occupation by the Nazis, some of Churchill’s counselors advised him to negotiate with the Nazis, perhaps surrender to the Nazis. Instead, Winston Churchill said, “Wars are not won by evacuation.” Guess what? Life is not won by evacuation either. Successful people are those who continue pursuing their God-given dreams.

Let’s say for example that you want to set aside five hundred dollars every month for unanticipated emergencies. By the way, that’s biblical. God encourages people at all income levels to set aside a little money for unexpected emergencies in the future. Only the fool consumes everything he has. Solomon said the wise person has set aside money for those unanticipated emergencies. So let’s say you decide to do that. The first month when your paycheck comes in you have an unexpected trip to the emergency room that wipes out your five hundred dollars. The next month you say, “I’m going to do it this month,” and you have a car repair bill you weren’t expecting. The key is: What do you do the third month? Do you give up and say, “This just isn’t working. I’m not going to try to do it any longer.” Or do you keep pursuing that goal? Or maybe you have a goal in your relationship with God. You say, “Whatever happens, beginning next Monday, I am going to set the alarm clock twenty minutes earlier and I’m going to read a couple of chapters of the Bible and pray. I’m going to do that regardless.” So Monday morning rolls around and the alarm goes off, and some mysterious hand reaches over and hits the snooze button on it. And you say, “Well, I’m going to plan tomorrow to do that.” And your boss calls you in early unexpectedly. You can’t do it then. The question is: What do you do on the third day? Persistence doesn’t necessarily mean removing obstacles. You can’t always remove obstacles. Persistence means continuing to pursue your God-given dream in spite of the obstacles that life erects.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Choosing Perseverance over Defeat” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2019.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.