Persistence and tenacity sprout from the soil of adversity. Like mighty trees of strength, they are qualities dominating the landscape of excellence!
There is built into each of us the desire to pursue — to rise! How can we join the ranks of those who refuse to live below full potential?
God often uses natural elements to teach me spiritual truths, like modern day parables. Here is one!
The snow banks stubbornly staking claim in my yard dispute the fact that spring is soon upon us. I, like many other garden enjoying people, anticipate its arrival! Beneath the snow, dormant but waiting, diversity of colour prepares to burst forth transforming the bland landscape.
With it will be a few surprises!
When we moved into our home, the yard was surrounded by immaculately cut hedges. Unsurprising, immaculate is a contradiction to my nature!
As soon as possible, more natural landscape replaced the pristine conventional look. Flowing substituted fixed, as a variety of shrubs, trees and flowers took root.
Not long after the sod was turned, “it” appeared! One day only well positioned healthy shrubs, flowers and greenery were visible. The next day, “it” was there!
“It” sprung forth in domineering fashion staking claim where it had no claim. “Its” roots descending beyond the depth of sight or shovel, determined and invasive.
Resistant to my effort, “it” refused to yield or die. “It” is a weed. “It” waits for spring, too! Hopefully, this time I’m ready!
Frustrated with “its” reappearance, I sat upon the ground questioning God how to possibly rid my yard of such torment. I sensed within me His voice say, “Persistence and tenacity!”
“I walked by the field of a lazy person,
the vineyard of one with no common sense.
I saw that it was overgrown with nettles.
It was covered with weeds,
and its walls were broken down.
Then, as I looked and thought about it,
I learned this lesson:
A little extra sleep, a little more slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest—
then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit;
scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.”
I instantly knew that now the conversation had uncomfortably switched from the garden to my heart. “It” breeds in multiples here too — invasive and dominating! God invited, “Look and give thought!”
As soon as I try to take a step forward rising in excellence for God’s kingdom some otherwise hidden “root” will instantly show “its” burly face,
laughing at my intention,
scorning my effort,
tripping any progress,
devaluing my worth.
“Its” roots go deep to Adam’s fatal fall. Though I work and pray to remove “it”, these remnants of fallen nature spring forth, attempting to diminish my progress.
Raising the bar of excellence starts with getting off the ground and doing whatever it takes to achieve what God has called me to. Some days that is harder than others!
Jesus told a parable about the sower faithfully sowing seed. Some fell along a path, others on rocky land, still others among the weeds. The only seed that produced in abundance landed in good soil.
“Other seed fell among thorns,
which grew up and choked the plants!”
This Greek word “epnixan” means to “choke or throttle!” It describes the effective cutting off of the air ways, killing by suffocation.
Sounds a lot like the “it” in my garden and my heart! Those who listened to Jesus knew about weeds! They too had things in their lives that were cutting off and strangling, the breath of life God gives.
There is good news, however! As soon as they present their crippling heads to the light, weeds can be eradicated!
The cross of Christ overcomes every “it” — all sin and failure. With persistence and tenacity, we bring each pernicious thought, attitude and action before Him. Cooperating with Christ, we roll up our sleeves committing ourselves to digging until every root is exposed and disposed of.
Many would say that persistence and tenacity are synonymous. Not true!
Persistence is that ability to take a stand, going on resolutely in spite of opposition. Persistence maintains consistency of character and purpose while pushing away every obstacle.
No wonder God nudged me with that little admonition. If I am going to win at uprooting the negative in my life and reaching for excellence, persistence is needed.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded
by such a great cloud of witnesses,
let us throw off everything that hinders
and the sin that so easily entangles.
And let us run with perseverance
the race marked out for us.”
Many things can hinder excellence from characterizing our life, disrupting growth, or limit reaching our God given destiny. It takes perseverance to ceaselessly dig up every “it” growing invasively in our lives.
Even small things are capable of producing great damage! Everything that potentially entangles our progress must by God’s grace be dug out!
But how is tenacity different? Tenacity simply means “not easily pulled apart.” It is the glue, the stick to it ability, either to something or someone.
Have you ever walked through a patch of burrs? Then you have experienced tenacity! A little burr knows how to stick, refusing to leave its place of attachment.
After Jesus taught a particularly difficult concept, “many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.” When the going got tough, those who lacked tenacity got going, but in the wrong direction!
“You do not want to leave too, do you?”
Jesus asked the Twelve.
Simon Peter answered him,
“Lord, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life.
We have come to believe
and to know that you are
the Holy One of God.”
Right answer, Peter!
Peter possesses tenacity, sticking like glue to Jesus! Why? He had “come to believe” that Jesus really was “the Holy One of God”. Peter stuck to God and his faith! He wasn’t about to switch allegiance mid stride.
Unlimited possibility and opportunity for excellence awaits those who tenaciously stick like glue to Jesus.
“For I can do everything
who gives me strength.”
Persistence and tenacity! Persistence pushes against opposition! Tenacity holds to what is valuable! We need wisdom to know when each is needed.
Do you possess far-reaching goals? Are you aiming for excellence? Don’t expect a “quick fix” or an easy come scenario!
Whether your goal is an enduring marriage a thriving business or a vibrant ministry, persistence and tenacity will assist in achieving that outcome. Whether something grand or simply living each day well, these qualities form the path of success.
On the ground is where I was when God whispered these words into my heart. Getting up is always the first step to excellence!
Together, let’s get off the ground and start digging again?
It is encouraging when people stop and comment on the beauty or productivity of our little garden. Sometimes people even comment on changes they have noticed in my life! Whether outside in my garden or inside in my heart, there is a reward for persistence and tenacity.