It Takes Patience and Persistence to Reach a Goal
by Rick Warren
"These things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will sure come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!" Habakkuk 2:3 (LB)
"If you are going to really reach your goals in life, sometimes you have to delay gratification. You have to do the tough thing instead of the fun thing."
The seventh step to getting where God wants you to be is to be patient and persistent. Why? Because it's not going to happen overnight. The more important your goal is, the longer it's going to take; the more significant it is, the more discipline it's going to require.
Step #1 - Determine your present position
Step #2 - Be specific about what you want
Step #3 - Look for God's promise
Step #4 -- Ask God to help you
Step #5 -- Identify the barriers
Step #6 -- Create a step-by-step plan
Step # 7 -- Be patient and persistent
Nothing great is ever accomplished without persistence and patience because, in order to be successful, your dreams must translate into work. The people who succeed in life are the people who are willing to do what they don't feel like doing. They are not mastered by their moods, they are mastered by the Master, and they establish their goals and plans according to God's will.
Eliezer was a great example of patience and persistence. We saw his patience in choosing the right woman by making a detailed plan. He didn't make a snap judgment. He wasn't impulsive. The Bible says in Genesis 24:21 (NIV), "Without saying a word, [he] watched her closely to learn whether or not the Lord had made his journey succeed."
Later, after he got invited to Rebekah's house for dinner, the Bible says, "The food was set before him (Eliezer), but he said, 'I will not eat until I have told you what I have to say'" (Genesis 24:33 NIV). Now personally, I would have eaten first. But this guy was focused.
What's the point? If you are going to really reach your goals in life, sometimes you have to delay gratification. You have to do the tough thing instead of the fun thing, the right thing instead of the pleasurable thing.
And the reason that's so hard is because most of us don't want to delay gratification. That's why we're in debt. Our attitude is, "I want it and I want it now." And if we can't afford it, then we put it on our credit cards.
It's important for you to learn this lesson because any goal that's worth achieving is going to have obstacles in the way. You need to have a long-term view so, when difficulties come, you can persevere knowing that you are going to get past it.
I love today's verse. It's a great reminder that God's timing is perfect and ours is not. When you find yourself in God's waiting room, just be patient and persistent. A God-given vision will always be fulfilled.