Persistence Makes You A Winner

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General Douglas MacArthur once said:

“Age wrinkles the body. Quitting wrinkles the soul.”

Quitting and, for that matter, persistence is clearly visible to our Lord.

Revelation 2:19 in the Message Bible says:

I see everything you’re doing for me. Impressive! The love and the faith, the service and persistence. Yes, very impressive! You get better at it every day.”

Would you believe there are seven keys in this short verse?  I thought about teaching the scripture but I was clearly directed to go in a different direction.

Persistence is always. . .the decision of winners.

Persistence, patience, perspiration and especially, prayer. . .make an unbeatable combination for success.

Napoleon Hill, the author of Think and Grow Rich, said:

“The majority of men meet with failure because of their lack of persistence in creating new plans to take the place of those which fail.”

Like Jesus. . .it’s important you never lose sight of where you’re headed.

Hebrews 12:1-2 of the Message Bible says:

“Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit!. . .Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headedthat exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way.  Cross, shame, whatever .”

What keeps you focused on where you’re headed?  Here are seven keys found in Hebrews 12:1-2.

First,all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on. 

People who believe in you. . .mentors. . .saints who spoke or still speak a word in season to you.

In most athletic events playing on your home field or court is a decided advantage.

The hometown fans are totally supportive and very boisterous in that support.

You have the home field advantage in the game of life.  You’ve got the Words of the saints who’ve gone before you. . .to inspire you in your personal playbook. . .the Bible, which is the greatest success guide ever written.

Within its 66 books you will find success and failure, tragedy but  triumph, betrayal but  forgiveness, despair but hope, hurt but healing, doubt but faith, decisions made and consequences experienced . . . the promise of eternal life then and abundant life now.

Second, better get on with it.  Simply said, don’t talk about it. . .do it.

1 John 3:18 in God’s WORD Translation says:

“Dear children, we must show love through actions that are sincere, not through empty words.”

Don’t talk about it. . .just do it. . .because your Heavenly Father is watching every step you take.

Proverbs 5:21 in God’s WORD Translation says:

“Each person’s ways are clearly seen by the Lord, and he surveys all his actions.”

Don’t just talk about it. . .be a doer of the word.

James 1:25 in the New Living Translation says:

“But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.”

It’s significant this verse doesn’t say. . .”We’re blessed in our talking”. . .no, it says: “We’re blessed in our doing.”

Third, start running and never quit.  The only way you ever lose is if you quit. . . so, don’t.

Become the Forrest Gump of faith. . .just keep running and running and running toward your prize.

The only way you lose is if you quit running the race.

Luke 18:1 in the New Living Translation says:

“One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up.”

Never give in to the desire of the flesh to take the easy way out. . .to give in to the pressure of the moment.  It is a sin to know what to do. . .and not do it.

Romans 6:12 in the New Living Translation says:

“Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires.”

When the waiting ends. . .when you mentally decide to activate your desires and dreams. . .you are joined in your efforts by an amazing threesome. . .the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. . .and you will never have to back down from any challenge. . . ever again.

Fourth, keep your eyes on Jesus.  This will assure you’re always headed in the right direction.

Jesus was focused on His calling. . .His mission and Hebrews 12:2 MSG says:

“Because he never lost sight of where he was headed.”

When Peter was walking on the water. . .as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus everything was good.  But when he became moved by his circumstances he began to sink.

We must keep our eyes focused on Jesus to make sure we don’t sink beneath the cares of this world.

Either read the Bible or listen to CDs or MP3s of the Bible Daily…not only will this keep us headed in the right direction. . .but our lives will change in direct proportion to the Words we are hearing from Him

Nobody else can do this for us.  We must pursue the Word of God for ourselves. 

Fifth, study how He did it.  Follow His lead. . .His example. . .His instructions.

1 Peter 2:21 in the Amplified Bible says:

“For [as a believer] you have been called for this purpose, since Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you may follow in His footsteps.”

Not only does God want us following His example. . .He will show us step-by-step.

1 Peter 2:21 in the Message Bible says:

“He suffered everything that came his way so you would know that it could be done, and also know how to do it, step-by-step.”

Sixth, because He never lost sight of where he was headed. 

Philippians 3:15-16 in the Message Bible says:

“So let's keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you'll see it yet! Now that we're on the right track, let's stay on it.”

What puts us on the right track. . .following God’s instructions and His Holy Spirit led directions.

Seventh, that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way

The Apostle Paul was a man with vast knowledge of the Word, one who saw signs and wonders following his travels. . .one who raised up disciples. . .one who endured extreme persecution. . .and he speaks of one thing that he did in Philippians 3:13:

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.”

Paul was reaching out to new things. . .new opportunities. . .new places. . .new people.  He was not living in the past. . .if there was ever anyone who could have lived in the past, it was the Apostle Paul.  But the scripture says that he left the past in the past and he journeyed on toward a new thing.

Philippians 3:14 says:

“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

If you want the prize. . .to hear God say. . .”well-done my good and faithful servant” . . . then you’ve got to forget the past. . .reach out to do new things. . without looking back.

Philippians 3:14 in the Message Bible says:

“. . . I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back.”

There is one other thing I feel led to share here and it concerns a quote by D.L. Moody, the great evangelist who once said:

"It is better to say, 'This one thing I do,' than to say, 'These forty things I dabble in.' "