Summary: Resilient people take charge of their lives and stop making excuses.
Resilience Is a Daily Habit
In Hebrews chapter people are listed who were faithful to God and demonstrated resilience. Hebrews 12 reflects on the heroes of faith and says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3
This morning I’m presenting a subject that can make a significant difference for your life, your work and your future. The Hebrew writer encourages us to consider all the people of faith who have lived lives that honored the Lord and have gone on before us. They are surrounding us and cheering us on as we run with perseverance the race of life. I’m using the term “resilience” in place of perseverance. The New Living Bible translates the word as “endurance.”
The Hebrew writer had watched races in the coliseums of his day. All who completed the race were cheered because they did not give up and quit in the middle of the race.
Training for sports has many parallels to becoming a strong Christ follower. Becoming proficient in sports and the Christian life have one common denominator, “discipline.” Becoming a winner requires hours and hours of disciplined practice. In spite of pain in your body you get out and practice everyday.
When I started High School I had heard about tennis but I had never played. I tried playing with some friends and it the ball all over the court and often into the net. That summer my mother attended summer school at Emporia State Teachers College and enrolled me in several summer high school classes, typing, social studies, auto mechanics and tennis.
In the class on tennis I learned there are several ways to hold a tennis racquet and how to practice tossing up the ball when serving. There are preferred ways to stand when hitting a forehand and backhand. When I started practicing using some of the basics for tennis I began to play better.
Last Tuesday evening we watched the TV program “According to Jim.” Jim’s son came home from school and reported that he was quitting basketball. He didn’t want to play basketball at school anymore. His mother agreed but Jim said in no way would a son of his be a quitter. The way to manhood was to make a commitment and stick with it.
Jim’s sister-in-law challenged Jim to run in a six mile race. All he had to do was complete the race and he could demonstrate to his son by setting an example that he was not a quitter. Jim was way out of shape and knew he could never finish a six mile race. Jim’s friend devised a way he could finish the race. He would take a short-cut and rest in a beauty salon and then join the race and finish.
The gun sounds and the race is started. Jim darts into a beauty salon and sat down and had his toenails manicured. He went to sleep and woke up with a start. He put his shoes on and raced out and took the short cut and found that he was leading the race and was the first to cross the finish line.
Everyone he greeted who knew him said that he cheated. They knew he cheated because he won the race. He rationalized that he only cheated because he wanted to teach his son not to be a quitter. No one is proud of quitters. Everyone wants to run the race of life and finish well.
I. Resilient People had a clear Life Purpose
The Hebrew writer pictures a resilient person as one who refuses to be a quitter. The resilient person does not have a loser limp. Resilience is a characteristic that embodies the throwing off of weights, avoiding traps, eluding entanglement, and keeping your eyes fixed on Jesus.
When you have a clear life purpose you reach the age of 40 and know that your first 40 years were great, but the second half of your life can even be better.
Caleb is an example of a resilient person with a clear purpose in life. The Lord had commanded Joshua and the children of Israel to conquer the land of Canaan. Much of the land had been conquered, but some of the hardest land to conquer was the hill country. Caleb assured Joshua that at the age of 85 he felt as strong as he was when 40 years earlier they began their wilderness wanderings. “Today I am eighty-five years old, I am as strong now as I was when Moses sent me on the journey, and I can still travel and fight as well as I could then. So I’m asking you to give me the hill country that the Lord promised me. You will remember that as scouts we found the Anakites, living there in great walled cities. But if the Lord is with me, I will drive them out of the land, just as the Lord said.” Joshua 14:10-12