Passion and Perseverance: Grit

"Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God.”— Romans 1:1

Os Guiness calls it “the haunting question.”

Do I have a purpose? A calling? A reason to live? And if I do, what do I do about it? How do I live it?

In a popular TED talk, teacher and psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth discusses what motivates some students to succeed. Her conclusion?


“Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina,” she says.1

Grit is knowing your purpose and persevering. But no motivational talk, method, or trick will give you true grit like the Holy Spirit!

Paul knew his purpose. He was a “a servant of Christ Jesus” and he was “called to be an apostle.”   Once he met Jesus, Paul accepted the call upon his life and never looked back. The haunting question was answered.

Fyodor Dosteovsky observed in The Brothers Karamazov, “For the secret of man’s being is not only to live but to have something to live for. Without a stable conception of the object of life, man would not consent to go on living and would rather destroy himself than remain on earth.”

Not consent to go on living! What a terrifying, desperate sentence. What condemnation.

Remember that childhood song, “Hide your light under a bushel—no! I’m gonna let it shine!”

God’s glory is once again manifested on the earth, only this time, the vessel is us. “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit?” (1 Corinthians 6:19). We are meant to let our lights shine!

To paraphrase a great preacher, “I allow myself to be set on fire by the Holy Spirit then people come to watch me burn.” Another preacher, Billy Sunday, said, “More men fail through lack of purpose than through lack of talent.”

Life gets boring, apathetic, and frustrating when we don’t know what to do with ourselves, so we are afraid to even try.

But to not try is to be “haunted” throughout our lives, looking for a reason to accept life, hoping for significance, yearning for fulfillment.

Paul never aspired to a position of power or honor, but lived as a man with a mission and purpose. He thought in terms of what God wanted him to do—and he did it. His life had meaning, purpose, fulfillment, and joy.

It was the abundant life God intends for each of us. 

1. Grit: The power of passion and perseverance

Ray Bentley