Grit: Learning from the Apostle Paul
One small isolated stride might not seem like much. But when you get to the end of the run, it helps you get to the finish line.
On an average 1 mile run, the runner will take over 1,500 strides.
Multiply that by 26.2 miles and you get 39,000 strides to complete a marathon.
The problem is that most people are too afraid to make the first stride. Rather than taking the challenge, we quit before we’ve even started.
I have often heard people say that life is a marathon, not a sprint. Still, others have remarked that life is a series of sprints. Either way, that’s a lot of running, and a lot of strides. We will need a ton of endurance along the way.
The dictionary defines grit as “a firmness of character, or an indomitable spirit.”
Grit, endurance, an indomitable spirit, whatever you want to call it, it is a trait that few people possess. Yet, we can all grow in it!
Angela Duckworth wrote a book about grit and declared that grit is the number one indicator of a person's future success.
A person who possesses grit is a person who refuses to give up. They will never throw in the towel. The word quit does not exist in their vocabulary.
That being said, grit is something that we ought to desire to grow in!
The apostle Paul is someone that I think possessed extraordinary grit. Here are a few of the ways that we can grow in grit by learning from Paul.
1. Your future is more important than your past!
Before Paul became a passionate follower of Jesus, his name was Saul, and he was leading the charge as a persecutor of Christians. His goal and drive was to stomp out and arrest all of the Christians that he could!
Fast forward, and God radically transformed Paul’s entire life. His sole ambition became the spread of the Good News. Paul ended up writing a major chunk of the New Testament and was a major player in the rapid spread of the gospel and establishment of local churches after Jesus left the earth!
Let’s learn this truth from Paul: he didn’t let his past deter him from the future plans that God had for his life. The next time you feel shame and regret coming upon you, look at Paul. Never once did Paul allow excuses, laziness, or a “hands off” approach to take root in his life.
2. Thoughts power up our grit
Consider Paul’s words in Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Paul’s thoughts were his super power. Think about this: scholars believe that Paul wrote at least four and potentially up to seven books from house arrest and prison. Paul didn’t have access to a computer, smart phone, or WiFi. Better yet, he couldn’t even walk down the street to the local library or Barnes and Noble. Paul trained his mind not just to think positively (which is crucial), but also to fix his thoughts on building up the church.
The books of the Bible written by Paul are letters to churches and church leaders of his day. Rather than sulking because of his circumstances, Paul kept believing. He didn’t just keep believing, he kept doing. Our thoughts fuel our actions, and Paul is an example of this truth.
Despite having physical chains, he didn’t allow those to cripple him mentally for a second. Paul stayed sharp. How? By serving the church. Paul kept serving God and that fueled His purpose. I imagine this is what Paul thought:
“Fine, take away my opportunity to preach. I’ll just go ahead and write.”
What if we carried that same attitude today? No matter the circumstances. No matter the cost. I’m going to serve. I’m not going to waste another day, or let another opportunity slip by. Every chance that I get, I’m going to serve God wholeheartedly. I’m going to build up his church. I’m going to build up a brother or sister that might be discouraged.
That’s the attitude that Paul possessed. That’s grit.
Step into grit today.
Choose it. Rep it. Live it.
- Josh Lane