Move Forward In Spite Of Setbacks

If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.

–2 Timothy 2:13

This week, we have been studying how to develop persistence in your life: You must appreciate the value of persistence. You must begin regardless of how you feel and then commit to working hard. Finally, to be persistent, you must not be paralyzed by setbacks or failures. Success is not the ability to avoid setbacks; success is the determination to continue moving forward in spite of those setbacks. We can throw a giant pity party for ourselves. We can wring our hands and say, “Oh, woe is us, what are we going to do?” Or we can choose to take a different path. We cannot avoid setbacks, but we can decide to move forward in spite of those setbacks.

Thomas J. Watson, the founder of IBM, once said the formula for success is to double your failure rate. In other words, the more times you try, the more times you will fail–but the more you will learn, as well. Think about Babe Ruth. He struck out 1,330 times in his career, yet today he is considered one of the greatest baseball players in history. Think about the novelist John Grisham. His first novel, “A Time to Kill,” was rejected by more than a dozen publishers, yet today he has sold hundreds of millions of copies of his books. Successful people are persistent. They are not paralyzed by failures.

Perhaps the greatest example of persistence is God Himself. He created you and me to have fellowship with Him. But we turned away from Him. God would have been completely justified in giving up on us and allowing us to spend this life and eternity separated from Him. But God refused to give up. Because of His persistence, He continued to move toward us even when we moved away from Him. Paul said it this way: “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). And John said, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10).

It is because of God’s persistence, His refusal to give up, that we have eternal life through Christ. And God’s persistent love for you did not stop the moment you became a Christian; it continues even now. When we as Christians wander away from God, God does not give up. He continues to send good things and hard things into our lives to turn our hearts back toward Him. Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 2:13, “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” That is the essence of persistence.

***

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Power of Persistence” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2009.

Thomas J. Watson, as quoted in Robert T. Lewis, “Taking Chances” (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1979), 167.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.

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