I get a lot of emails from people about giving up, wanting to quit, needing help, taking pills, hunting support groups, longing for quick and easy answers… just a general lack of perseverance, toughness, commitment and mental fortitude.
As I wrote a modern English version of the Declaration of Independence this week, I was struck at the depth of REAL adversity they faced, and their tough determination to change things. Today, we just pop a pill, schedule some self esteem therapy, and turn on Oprah.
This morning I was reading about the Apostle Paul:
…in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not? (2 Cor 11:22-29)
Philippians 4:11-13 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (NKJV)
Philippians 4:19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (NKJV)
I think there are several things that contribute to this personal/emotional/spiritual weakness we see today: prosperity, lack of Biblical education, a shrugging off of personal responsibility and the infiltration of modern humanist philosophy.
I routinely get emails like this:
- Why is my business not succeeding? I’ve been working on it off and on for several days, and I’m not making a million dollars yet.
- I take 27 different pills a day to manage my unhappiness, but it’s not working. Can you help?
- We’re in debt and just can’t get out. We live like paupers with only the bare essentials: cable TV, beer, cigarettes, two cars, only one large flat screen plasma TV, golf only twice a week, and have limited myself to 30 pairs of shoes.
I routinely hear the language of soft:
- Too hard
- Too long
- I tried but…
- I feel…
- My self esteem…
- Not fast enough…
- Have to learn to much…
- Can’t make time….
I constantly hear myriads of reasons (and then a request for help) of why people can’t:
- Be disciplined
- Get out of debt
- Build a business
- Not be depressed
- Have a good marriage
- Be a good parent
- Be spiritually healthy
- Grow spiritually
- Lose weight
- Quit a bad habit
Folks, much of this is VERY SIMPLE: we do not try hard enough, or long enough. We give up too easy. We are not tough. We are soft and spoiled. We lack perseverance. We lack fortitude. We lack the ability to detemine to do something good, and then do whatever is necessary no matter what the personal sacrifice or cost.
Oh, this type of simplistic, country-boy explanation is met with much derision, eye-rolling and the flashing of college degrees by people with long strings of letters after their name. Who are YOU??? We are PROFESSIONALS!
Im not sure how the Apostle Paul or George Washington ever accomplished anything without a mental health professional and several prescriptions. Truth is, it is their type of dogged determination (perseverance), their type of commitment to doing what is good (character), and their type of undeterred personal investment (self sacrifice) that not only was the foundation of great things like the establishment of Christianity and the founding of America…
…they are also the same ingredients that will allow you to build a successful business, have a great marriage, be an effective parent, quit relying on drugs and therapists, conquer bad habits, and grow/mature spiritually.
Perseverance. Character. Self Sacrifice.
Filter your problems, concerns and failures through those today and see if you don’t discover the answer about how to be successful and have victory.