by Gladys Miller
I want to talk about Spiritual tenacity. Something I read about in Oswald Chambers’ devotional “My Utmost for His Highest”.
I will give you a secular dictionary’s definition of tenacious – having great cohesiveness (observing logical order) of parts, tough, tending to hold strongly as opinion, stubborn (I like persistent better), strongly retentive
So spiritual tenacity – what is that? Chambers says it is endurance with absolute certainty that what we are looking for is going to happen.
The word endurance caught my attention about as much as tenacity. To me it indicates some sort or struggle or test or trial. Just because we believe with all we are that what we pray for will come to pass, endurance indicates to me that there will be times of purification – both for what we pray for and self. In James 4 we are told that when we ask and do not receive, we ask wrongly – sometimes our prayer needs to be purified, or our motives purified.
Because what we pray for doesn’t come to pass immediately, we cannot give up, we need to hold strongly and seek God in prophetic intercession knowing that with God all things are possible.
I think of the Canaanite woman who was seeking Jesus’ help to heal her tormented daughter (Mt. 15:21-28). It appears Jesus just ignores her but she does not give up. She must have been loud and disruptive – Jesus disciples asked for Him to send her away because she kept shouting after them. Put yourself in her shoes – would you have been embarrassed? Would you have wondered if your hope in Jesus was futile? Would you have persisted? This woman (not from the house of Israel, in other words a gentile/pagan) was tenacious in her spirituality – she pursued Jesus and did not give up. Her daughter was healed.
James 1:5-8 “If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you. But ask in faith, never doubting, for one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind, for the doubter being double-minded and unstable in every way, must not expect to receive anything from the Lord.” That is pretty much a great explanation of spiritual tenacity.
Years ago, we had a priest who taught “when you have reached the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on”. I want to add to that, hang on not because you are afraid to let go. Do not hang on and do nothing but hang on knowing God will never be defeated. Hang on because you know that:
“All things are possible with God” Mt. 19:26
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Phil. 4:13
“The Lord does not faint or grow weary; His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint and strengthens the powerless. Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted, but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Is.40:28b-31
Ps. 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God” – this is the recipe for growing in Spiritual Tenacity. We grow in spiritual tenacity as we grow in faith and we grow in faith as we spend time in quiet with the Lord.
Keep on keeping on – let spiritual tenacity grow and reign in your life.
Father Peter Coughlin
A Call to Love
The Lord is Present
God is everywhere. God is present, living in you and me. When I was born I owed God “thanks” for the gift of life. When I was baptized I owed God ‘love” because he made me his child by adoption, filling me with his love and making me an heir to the kingdom of heaven.
The Lord calls each of us to serve him through a particular calling in a vocation tailored to our particular talents and gifts and our spirituality. Our call may be to marriage or the single state of life, to holy orders or the consecrated life. We follow our particular calling or vocation through love, loving God with the totality of our being and sharing that love with all those entrusted to our care and those who in any way are part of our daily life.
Living within me is the presence of the Lord, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit who guides me and leads me on the journey through life. The love of the Lord fills me and works through me to draw people to come to know and love the Lord. God is not at a distance. He is very near, in my heart, my mind, on my lips. With St. Paul we are continually moving from glory to glory because Christ lives in us. He never leaves us, never stops loving us. He is constant, his love never fails, is always seeking intimacy with us. The more room we make for the Lord in our life the more aware we become of his presence with us, within us.
Our vocational call is built on love and the more the love increases the stronger the call and the Lord’s presence within. People don’t fall in and out of love. They can stop loving but the Lord never stops loving, no matter how far we turn away from him. The Lord is always ready to forgive when we repent, ready to restore us to his favour and to lead us closer and closer in the love he has for us.
Really, the vocational call each of us have, even though it may be different from one another, is the call to love, to be great lovers who spend time with the Lord, communicating intimately with him. This is our first priority- to love and worship the Lord- to listen to him- serve him in our brothers and sisters- to produce the fruits of love- peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control, joy, all the good fruit of the Spirit.
Published with permission:
The Bread of Life
ISSN No. 0821-168X. All Rights Reserved.