Finishing Perseverance

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                          March 21, 2012

Perseverance must finish its work, so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:4)

“The Wall” is the term that is used to describe a point where an athlete is physically, emotionally, and mentally fatigued. To go any further he must be able to reach deep with inside of himself and discover a hidden reservoir of strength and energy that he didn’t know was there. At the Boston Marathon “the Wall” is even known by the name “Heartbreak Hill.” It comes between the 20th and 21st miles of the race, and is an incline not quite a half-mile long. Heartbreak Hill is the point in the race where most runners must “finish perseverance”, or they will drop to the side.

I hadn’t actually thought about perseverance being something that needs to be finished, but James infers that in his words towards the beginning of his New Testament letter. When perseverance is complete a person is taken to a new point in his journey. That new point happens because perseverance has achieved it’s purpose.

It reminds me of that fascinating game called “curling”, that we only seem to see once every four years (during the Winter Olympics). The “curler” guides a “stone” towards the target area. “Sweepers’ use brooms to finish the stone’s placement. It is the curler whose precise and focused moments are essential for the stone to get to the finish. Perseverance is like the curler. It carries us to that certain point where the target is in sight.

If I’m reading the words of James correctly, maturity comes at the finishing of perseverance. Perhaps spiritual immaturity takes a hold on a person’s life, because perseverance is never finished. It’s like all the books I have in my library. I am a “book addict.” The problem is that I have a book-load of unfinished hard copies. It’s not that the books are uninteresting. It’s more that I’m undisciplined to go the distance, to go from Preface to Epilogue.

Could it be that our lack of spiritual maturity is intimately connected to our deficiency in perseverance? It’s easier to bail out than to stay with an uncomfortable leg in the journey. Maturity, however, is signatured with some battle wounds, and painful events.

In a culture that is increasingly superficial and enamored with the outwardly beautiful, perseverance brings us to a point of “aged and deep beauty.” It goes past a 140 character Tweet to a volume of depth.

Finish perseverance, and persevere as you finish!

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