Eugene Peterson describes Christian perseverance as “a long obedience in the same direction.” That is just about perfect.
Holiness requires a long obedience in the same direction, staying on the field of battle and remaining there.
The Christian life is often just a matter of simple obedience, putting one foot in front of the other and refusing to fall or falter.
The difficulty for most of us is the long part. We want everything to happen now. As Peterson explains, this impulse is deadly for the Christian life:
Everyone is in a hurry. The persons whom I lead in worship, among whom I counsel, visit, pray, preach, and teach, want shortcuts. They want me to help them fill in the form that will get them instant credit (in eternity). They are impatient for results. They have adopted the lifestyle of a tourist and only want the high points. . . . The Christian life cannot mature under such conditions and in such ways.
There are no shortcuts to Christian maturity. Isn’t this what Jesus said in Matthew 16:24?
This means if we want to grow in areas of prayer, reading through Scripture, sharing Christ with others, practicing generosity, these virtues will not happen overnight by human will power. We can't microwave these practices into our lives.
Growth takes time and it takes the grace of God, plus patience and willingness to follow Jesus all the way. Growth demands input from others who are also on the journey with us.
May the Lord richly bless you with the desire and the patience to follow Jesus all the way in 2013!