There are many virtues we list when talking about our walk as Christians — patience, love, kindness, and peacemaking are just a few — but we’re not likely to list grit as a hallmark of God’s character. Nevertheless, as much as the image of being a warrior for the Lord can seem to contradict our understanding of His nature, the truth is that being tough is absolutely vital to our lives as believers. While we tend to think of ruggedness and resilience in terms of physical strength or stamina, in reality, they are an outgrowth of the state of our heart, and they have much more to do with our inner life than with our outer. Though it may seem unorthodox to introduce pop-culture at this point in our discussion, I hope you’ll permit me to use an example from one of my favorite movies, “True Grit.” There are actually two versions of the film, and I like them equally well, but in both, there’s a lady whose dad was murdered by a gangster and she wants the guy who did it brought in, so she goes to the local sheriff and asks him if it’s possible for her to hire a marshal. He tells her that it’s definitely feasible as long as she has the money, and then, he begins listing off names. He mentions Tom Chaney, who’s a great tracker, and Rooster, who doesn’t have an ounce of fear and would kill a man if needed, but he recommends John Jacobs, who always brings a suspect back alive and gives him a fair shake. In response, and without missing a beat, the woman asks where she can find Rooster. You see, when it comes to warriors, it’s important that they be moral, but it’s equally important that they be tough. While perfection is not a requirement, persistence definitely is, and whether it’s fighting on the battlefield or warring in the spiritual realm, fearlessness and faithfulness are of utmost importance!
My friend, you are the Lord’s soldier, and you are tough! In fact, you are much stronger than you realize, and though at times you feel as if you will collapse under the strain of the fight, you can stand firm on the Rock of your salvation and prevail. You have come farther than you ever thought possible, and as you look behind you and see your Savior’s faithfulness, your past persistence can be the fuel of empowerment as you press through present trials. Yes, times are tough, but you are tougher still, and with the Holy Spirit as your guide, there is no storm you cannot not prevail against. In fact, as you persevere through the current tempest, your determination is providing relief to those who most need to know that there is hope, no matter how dark the clouds or heavy the rain. Isn’t that good news?