When I returned home from a walk recently, I met Andy and the kids in the street, with Belle on her leash. They were still about 30 yards off when I called Belle’s name. Andy dropped the leash and let her run towards me. Not much is funnier than watching a basset hound run. Her short legs and flapping skin give her a slow-motion look. Belle’s “dashes” often end in a tumble when she steps on her ears and trips herself, but on that day, she ran toward me halfway, slowed to a walk for a few steps, and then calmly sat down in the middle of the street.
“How about I just wait here,” her expression said, “since you’re coming this way already?”
Belle’s aversion to physical exercise makes her the perfect pet for me. Napping is her favorite hobby, and sometimes she’s even too lazy to stand up at her food bowl.–She reclines to eat! Belle also likes to move her front half without picking up her back half; she lazily drags her rear end and back legs across the floor a few steps before finally standing on all fours.
You know, sometimes it’s hard to get your rear in gear.
But what’s cute in a puppy is not nearly as becoming in a spiritual life. Perseverance is hard work! I’m tempted to quit when I want comfort over character, or when a friendship requires extra effort, or when I’m in a disagreement with Andy. (It’s so much easier to disagree with selfishness and “rightness”, than with grace and respect. Just yesterday I failed to persevere there.) I’m also tempted to let my kids get away with disobedience, instead of making the effort to parent consistently. And what about the Spirit’s correction in my heart?—Sometimes I’d rather plunk down in the middle of the street than continue running down that path.
And yet. Perseverance isn’t just a suggestion for the believer; it’s a must.
“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.” (Hebrews 12:1)
“Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:4)
“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12)
If I want to resemble Jesus, and live a life worthy of the crown of life, then I must keep running down the street. I must keep letting the Spirit do its perfecting work. Enough napping, Amy. Get your rear in gear! Persevere.