A few days ago, I came across one of my handwritten notes from years back: a talk which I had prepared to deliver to a group of undergraduate students who attended the same campus Christian fellowship which I had attended as an undergraduate student. The talk was titled “grit”. As I read through my notes, I recalled how I had agonised in prayer, asking God to put the right words in my mouth – words that would be directly relevant and impactful to my audience. In my subconscious, I had an idea of how I wanted to structure my talk, but I told God to change my plan if he needed to and speak through me regardless.
On getting to the venue, I quickly realised that I needed to make changes to my original plan. Quite honestly, I was a bit nervous when I mounted the stage and looked at my audience (I typically get nervous in the first few minutes of any presentation I have to deliver regardless of who my audience is). However, the instant I opened my mouth, I knew that it was God speaking through me. In this post, I share with you the things which I had intended to talk about on the said day… (which I am pretty sure I did not talk about – because I have no idea what I said anyway…lol).
The word “grit” means “courage and determination despite difficulty, strength of mind, great courage, fearlessness, fortitude, determination, resilience, bravery, tenacity, doggedness, endurance, toughness”. It is not uncommon for people to make remarks such as “I am very impressed by your grit”; but what do they really mean?
Well, I would start by highlighting two important points that I want you always to remember even if (by some random chance) you forget everything else that I have said:
- Everyone knows that there is a price for success, but only a few people are willing to pay that price. This is the reality of life. People see a lot of things that they desire in the lives of others, but they are entirely clueless about what such individuals went through to accomplish the things that they have accomplished. It is not a bad thing to aspire to be great – but that desire must be backed up with grit (a determination to put in the work to see that dream accomplished). I have some questions for you: what is (are) your dream(s)? Are you among the few who would commit today to pay the price to be successful despite any difficulty you might face? Does your desire to be accomplished consume you? Enough to make you want to give it your best shot? I love what the Psalmist said in the first part of Psalm 119:139 (KJV): “My zeal hath consumed me…”.
There is no elevator to success – you need to use the stairs.
- Every person you can name who is successful in any sphere of life has paid a very high price for it. You might not realise this, but it is the gospel truth. The price might be sleepless nights, long hours of agonising prayers and consecration, self-deprivation, delayed gratification, you name it – but there is always a price. Are you prepared to pay the price to win the prize? Please, I do not want you to misconstrue the point I am trying to make here. Some people do a lot of illegitimate things to achieve success, and I am not in any way referring to this class of people: these people seek for shortcuts to success and end up piercing themselves with many sorrows (see Psalms 32:10; 1st Timothy 6:10).
Do you realise that for you to be a Christian in the first place, you need to have grit?
The Bible makes it clear to us that we are bound to face persecutions and that the Christian race is never easy (Jesus did not sugar-coat this; see Luke 13:24, Matthew 5:10-12; Mark 10:30). This again reinforces the two points I have made earlier: only a few people have grit, and these people make great sacrifices to be successful.
There are universal principles that govern the affairs of the physical world we live in, and these principles work irrespective of who applies them (whether or not the person is a Christian) – but we must realise that as children of God, we have extra grace. That is one thing that people who do not know God do not enjoy.
The Bible provides many examples of people who showed grit. Ruth was a classic example; she chose to follow her mother-in-law wherever she was going and even pledged allegiance to the great God of Israel. Do you think it was an easy decision for her to make? Absolutely not! There were lots of uncertainties, especially as she was a foreigner, but she would not have it any other way (Ruth 1:8-18).
Elisha wanted to receive a double portion of the spirit of Elijah, and he knew what he needed to do (see 2nd Kings 2). Did people try to dissuade him? Oh yes, severally too. Did he succumb? Absolutely not!
Apostle Paul is also a huge inspiration. In 2nd Corinthians 11:23-27, he recounts the “high price” he paid in his Christian sojourn; so that he could say at the end of his life “I have fought a good fight” (2nd Timothy 4:7,8). Paul’s question to convenience-seeking Christians of today is, “who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? (Romans 8:35, KJV).
We all have valuable lessons to learn from the helpless widow who importuned as she demanded justice from the unjust judge that feared neither God nor man (Luke 18:2-5). I tell you, our world needs earnestly seeks for the resilient; those whose dreams are great enough for them to fight for it. Please, do not think you can achieve this feat all by yourself. You DEFINITELY need God.
Your dream should be so big that you know only God can make it possible!
When I gained admission to study Biochemistry at the University of Benin, I did not have the intention/desire to graduate with a First Class (God knows my heart, I was not fussed about it) – I sought to understand the chemical reactions taking place in living organisms, and that was it for me. Admittedly, I wanted to do well in my courses, but more importantly, I wanted to have an in-depth understanding of my field of study. I attended all the classes I could attend (I hardly missed a class), I did all my assignments to the best of my ability, I read for my exams – but these did not guarantee my success, you know. Many of my classmates did these even more than I did, but I would say God showed me mercy: “It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep” (Psalms 127:2, KJV). Did I always have a perfect result all the time? Of course not, but I was content doing my very best every opportunity I had to do so. This was the price I had to pay. I also served as the Librarian and later on as the Welfare Officer both at the campus and state level. In all these roles, I put in the best I could and through all the demands of fellowship activities and schoolwork, God proved himself faithful.
With God, I assure you that there is nothing that you cannot achieve. When you chase God, material things chase you. This is because you put in your best in all you do (you do everything to the glory of God because you know that it is God who would reward you ultimately, not man).
My final words to you are: trust God every step of the way, have an action plan, identify the price you need to pay to achieve your set goals and determine to pay this price against all the odds. It is my prayer that God gives you the grace to #KeepPressingOn…
If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.
Categories: My Christian Beliefs