It’s fair to say that nothing of great value is gained and retained without perseverance. We live in a day when there’s a great need for more people to understand this. We live in a day when those who do understand it tend to only focus on half of the equation: the last half.
Last-half perseverance sees you through when your big project hits intimidating roadblocks, or when an important relationship gets high-centered on seemingly immovable difficulties. It’s the kind of perseverance that says, “I won’t let go of that which is precious to me without a fight” – an insurance policy of the will, you might say, that we exercise in order to avoid those losses in our lives which we can prevent. It is the grade school edition of that same perseverance which pushed past the cross to secure new life on behalf of us all (a worthy cause for reflection during this season).
Clearly then, it’s important, but so is first-half perseverance. First-half perseverance (Ultimate Edition) left heaven and experienced unimaginable transition in order to reach us. Where Last-half won’t let go of what it’s already taken hold of, First-half relentlessly seeks handholds it’s never before had on things of true worth and magnitude. Both are exercises of faith.
So consider what Jesus did in this regard, but also what he has called you to do. In a society that can Google in moments and ship to home in a matter of days, we misunderstand his statements: “Seek and you’ll find…Ask and you’ll receive.” He’s calling us to a persistent seeking, not just a one-time stab at it. He’s guaranteeing delivery of heavenly goods to earth, but without specifying a time-frame or even providing a clear order form. We’d like to simply place an order. He’s requiring interaction, inquiry, honesty, discovery, trust, new priorities and transformation.
If you don’t understand First-half perseverance, you’ll shy away and miss out on the really big stuff – the blessings that put our small expectations to shame – because these blessings simply aren’t available without it. And as a result, many of us have developed an unconscious, empty-warehouse spirituality based on all those “orders we placed” but that God never filled.
First-half perseverance is the resolve to seek until you find. Keep asking and you’ll eventually receive your answer. Keep knocking…keep seeking…keep proving your earnestness through your perseverance. Did it seem like the door cracked open on the reality of Jesus for the first time in your life and then shut again at one point? If you’re not conscious of stepping away from God, it’s likely that the problem was that you never significantly stepped toward him. Passivity won’t cut it. God won’t dump a load of spirituality and relationship into your lap. He gives us a glimpse, a taste, a teaser… then he waits to see if we’re ready yet to move into First-half perseverance, to break through and prove that we really want what he’s offering.
Go knock on that door ‘til it opens.