THE EFFECTUAL POWER OF PERSISTENCE (Part III)

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The thrust of this third article of the series on the effectual power of the perennial virtue and value of persistence is on some of the benefits of persistence. What are some of the benefits of exercising patience and perseverance? How might others benefit from our exercise of endurance? These and other questions will be explored below. The third article on patience as an essential ingredient of persistence noted the following salient points.

Patience may be defined as the ability to bear with waiting, delays and procrastinations without getting upset or angry. It is to hold in calmly in the face of difficulties until a desired goal is obtained. We humans do not have control over a lot of situations and circumstances that happen to us. That is why we need ample doses of patience in order not to become frustrated and bitter.

To endure or persist one must have patience. Without patience we lose many of the battles we encounter in life.

When the Bible speaks of patience, it does not mean simply to resign to circumstances until they are over but to bear with and in bearing to conquer. Patience in the Christian sense is conquering patience. It is the ability not to allow any difficulties to defeat us ultimately. William Barclay describes the Christian understanding of patience like this: “Its basic meaning is patience with people. It is the quality of mind and heart which enables a man so to bear with people that their unpleasantness and maliciousness and cruelty will never drive him to bitterness, that their unteachableness will never drive him to despair, that their folly will never drive him to irritation, and that their unloveliness will never alter his love.”

 To endure with patience till victory or God’s will is done is not only to hold in but work hard in order to transform self, circumstances and others while waiting.

One of the main benefits of persistence is character formation. Endurance makes one strong in character. As Paul writes in Romans 5:3-5 “… but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope that does not disappoint us.” Patience and persistence are the fruits of self-discipline and discipline is a good thing. A disciplined person stands a better chance of succeeding in life in general than an undisciplined person.

The other advantage of the virtue of persistence is looking ahead. A persistent person does not just look at the immediate result but takes a long term perspective of things and situations. He/she does not allow short term interests and pleasures to override lasting achievements and values. In the long term he/she gets more of out of life than one who is always seeking immediate and short term results. The persistent person knows how to get the best out of the opportunities and challenges that life brings his/her way. He/she knows how to work and wait till something good comes out for him/her and others.

Still another benefit of being a persistent person is to help those whom one has influence over. The persevering person sets good examples for others to follow. He/she teaches others the virtue of persistence by example. One’s own children and dependants learn from observing what one does in dealing with delays, denials and other stumbling blocks in the way of achieving one’s goals and objectives in life. Educational specialists observe that teaching and learning take place best by showing and letting students themselves discover answers and solutions. So those who are persistent in the pursuit and attainment of their aspirations against all kinds of odds inspire others, especially the young to follow their good examples.

Those who persevere in their struggles to succeed stand to win in the long run, inspire others, and bring honor and glory to their Creator by doing what is right and proper at God’s appointed time. They also get the admiration and commendation of others.

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