A challenge I was recently given to test my grit involved water…cold water. The instructor of the leadership training I was participating in had a habit of immersing himself in an ice bath he’d placed in his garage. To him it was invigorating. To me it sounded a bit extreme. A cup of coffee is a sufficient source of invigoration for me!
His challenge to the trainees in our group was, if we didn’t have an ice bath in our garage, to go with the next best option – a cold shower. How long? 15 seconds…30…or more? Whatever you had sufficient grit to withstand and report back the following week.
Well, I actually determined quite quickly that I did not need to subject myself to cold water to prove to myself, or anyone else for that matter, that I had grit.
If you are like me, in your fifties, you can likely still remember the old western movies. The phase, true grit, will bring to mind one person – John Wayne. He was a “man’s man” and he received an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in the popular movie “True Grit”.
The movie may have demonstrated grit and an ice bath may do the same. Both, however, fall short of the example set before us in the life of Jesus Christ and His disciples that followed Him before and after His death.
No one can argue that death by crucifixion on a cross is one of the most horrific and torturous forms of punishment. Then add to it the beating prior and the hauling of one’s own cross up a hill to which they are then nailed. The criminals are then raised up to hang for 6 hours or as long as 4 days, however long it takes to become impaired such that they are no longer able to breath and are asphyxiated.
Jesus knew in the Garden Gethsemane and throughout His life that this was the death for which He’d been sent to earth. Yet…
For me, for you and for everyone. This is true grit. This is true love.
History tells us that some of His followers meet their death in this same way. Others were flayed to death, beheaded, stoned, impaled or hung upside down on iron hooks. All proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ the Messiah with their dying breath. This is true grit. This is true love.
Although I failed the cold water challenge satisfied that I didn’t need to demonstrate my grit, I then wondered if I had missed the point of the exercise. It’s not standing in a cold shower or sinking into an ice bath that is the true grit that I needed to demonstrate.
I have since come to realize that it’s my journey with Jesus Christ and what I do to follow Him that requires me to be gritty. Grit requires having faith and proclaiming Him as the Messiah until my dying breath. This is true grit. This is true love.
This then begs the question, how am I demonstrating grittiness in my journey with Jesus? And, how are you being gritty?
Jesus is the ultimate example of true grit and true love. The good news is that because of that love we are not alone in our journey. His promises include:
“I can do all things through the power of the one who gives me strength.” Philippines 4:15
“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7
“I sought the Lord, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4
“Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid…I will never leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 3:16
Although we many not be a “man’s man” like John Wayne or take cold showers, we can all have grit in our daily walk with Jesus Christ. He gives us all we need to follow Him and share the good news of His love with those around us until our dying breath.
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