Godly grit: “Deepening the Faith” devotional 5

This installment is part of a regular devotional series, “Deepening the Faith,” written by Gordon faculty and staff for the enrichment of the wider College community.

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, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he 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 sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. —Hebrews 12:1-3

In April 2013 Dr. Angela Lee Duckworth, professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, gave a TED Talk briefly describing many years of her research. Her TED Talk, Grit: The Power and Passion of Perseverance, has received almost 13 million views.

After years of research, it turns out that across all ethnic, socioeconomic, educational and psychological demographics “one characteristic consistently emerges as a significant predictor of success for young adults—grit.”

Duckworth defines grit as “the ability to persevere in pursuing a future goal over a long period of time and not giving up . . . It is having stamina. It’s sticking with your future day in, day out. Not just for the week. Not just for the month, but for years and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is a significant predictor of success in the world, but it is also essential for thriving in our Christian faith. If we want to grow in our Christian faith, we need to cultivate godly grit.

We won’t find the word “grit” in the Bible. But the Bible’s terms for grit—“steadfastness” and “endurance”—are found throughout Scripture. We live in a fallen world where we face challenging circumstance every day. Christians with godly grit don’t grow weary or lose heart; we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus for the long haul no matter what challenges come our way.

Godly grit is built solidly on the hope we have in Jesus Christ. We look to Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, so we don’t grow weary or lose heart. Godly grit isn’t about being tough enough or strong enough; it’s about being dependent enough to find our ultimate hope and comfort in Christ.

My favorite benediction comes from Romans 15:13 where Paul says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

This is godly grit in a nutshell! The God of hope filling us with all joy and peace as we trust in him day in and day out, so we overflow with hope, not by our strength, but by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Godly grit is trusting in Christ day in and day out no matter what challenges we might face.

As we study at Gordon College, as we face challenges, as we run the race of life, let’s fix our eyes on Jesus so we never grow weary or lose heart.

Tom Haugen
Tom Haugen is a graduate of the University of Georgia (B.A.), Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (M.Div.) and the University of Edinburgh (Th.M.). He is completing a Ph.D. in Homiletics at The London School of Theology and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Tom has served the Lord at churches in Zurich, Switzerland; Atlanta, Georgia; and Boston’s North Shore. He and his wife have three beautiful daughters.