Jessie Owens set his first world record in junior high school. In college he set three world records in less than an hour. In 1936, he showed his character at the Olympics in Nazi Germany. As Hitler watched, he set three more Olympic records and won four gold medals. Losing to a black man was more than the racist dictator could stand, so he stormed out of the stadium.

Later Jessie Owens wrote: ‘There is something that can happen to every athlete and every human being; the instinct to slack off, to give in to pain, to give less than your best; the instinct to hope you can win through luck or through your opponent not doing his best, instead of going to the limit and past your limit where victory is always found. Defeating those negative instincts that are out to defeat us, is the difference between winning and losing – and we all face that battle every day.’

Persistence is based on character, and character does what is right, not what is easy. It is controlled by values, not moods. It looks for solutions, not excuses. Kipling wrote, ‘If you do not get what you want, it is a sign you did not want it seriously enough, or that you quibbled too long over the price.‘ How badly do you want to fulfill God’s purpose for your life? It will take passion on your part to do it, because passion is what feeds persistence. So the word for you today is, ‘run with perseverance the race marked out!’

Used with permission by Tim Hetzner