Recently I listened to the book Grit by Angela Duckworth. It’s well worth a read. She (and others) have concluded that ‘grit’ comes about through a combination of passion and perseverance. As I listened, I pondered the relationship between this and our walk with Jesus as disciples.
I reckon the Bible lines up with these ideas in lots of ways. We are called to be passionate about Jesus and to embrace His rule and reign. Jesus calls us to love the Lord our God, with ALL our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love our neighbours as ourselves (Luke 10:27). He calls us to seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness (Matt 6:33). He calls us to die to ourselves and give up everything we have (Luke 14:33). He calls us to love one another (John 13:34) and to go into all the world to make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20). In Philippians 3 Paul states that he pursues Christ and what He has for him with everything that he has, leaving everything else behind. Surely all of this describes a life of PASSION: UPward passion in our relationship with God, INward passion in our relationships with each other and OUTward passion in our reaching out to the world around us.
And perseverance? There’s no question that’s part of our call as disciples. Love always perseveres (1 Cor 13:8). We are called to persevere in watching our life and doctrine closely (1 Tim 4:16). We are told that the one who perseveres under trial is blessed (James 1:12). The ancients are commended for their perseverance in faith (Heb 11). As followers of Jesus we find hope as we develop perseverance through suffering (Romans 5:1-5). We are told to run with perseverance the race marked out for us (Heb 12:1) and to persevere in doing good (Galatians 6:9). We’re called to persevere in our meeting together and to encourage one another (Heb 10:25). . . and encouraged to persevere in sharing the good news with others (Col 1:28). PERSEVERE – UP in our relationship with God, IN in our relationships with each other and OUT in reaching out to the world around us.
Become gritty disciples, ones who live with passion and perseverance – YES!
But how? In her book, Angela Duckworth explains that a key to grit is being surrounded by other gritty people in areas where we wish to strengthen our grit. You can probably think of areas in your life where that’s been the case. So to become gritty disciples we need to make sure that we are surrounded by other gritty disciples. Pretty biblical hey?!
But we know we can’t become gritty disciples by ourselves, in our own strength. It’s God’s Spirit powerfully working in us who will enable us to continue in passion and in perseverance. It’s through His work of transformation in our lives. We fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith (Heb 12:2) and He will show us His ways to continue with passion and perseverance. He will show us His unforced rhythms of grace (Matt 11:28-30). And as we work with what He is doing in us and through us we will become gritty disciples, ones marked by passion and perseverance.