In her book Grit: The Power and Passion of Perseverance, Angela Duckworth said that her father, a scientist, frequently noted her lack of genius when she was growing up. As an adult, she began to study why some people succeed in life while others don’t.
Her research included parents, students, educators, athletes, and businesspeople. The secret she discovered was a special blend of passion and persistence that she calls “grit.” For instance, you might have passion but not persistence. You might be very intelligent, but you might not have grit.
I think we could apply this to spiritual growth as well. Christians who want to win the race of life need spiritual grit. They need to run hard. The writer of Hebrews urges us to “run with endurance the race God has set before us” (Hebrews 12:1 NLT).
The word the writer used here for “endurance” comes from the Greek word hupomoné, which means patient persistence. It’s spiritual grit. Determination.
And where do we get this spiritual grit that we need to run the race of life?
We get it from trials and tribulations. James 1 tells us, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance [hupomoné] has a chance to grow” (verses 2–3 NLT).
Your spiritual endurance grows through the testing of your faith.
Maybe you’ve prayed, “Lord, I want to be stronger spiritually.” And then a trial, a hardship, comes your way, and you’re thinking, “Whoa! Whoa! I didn’t say that I wanted a trial or hardship! I said that I wanted to be stronger.”
Meanwhile, God is saying, “Exactly.”
Trials are sort of like God’s gym, where your muscle is broken down so you can build it up. That’s how you’ll get stronger.