I have, over the past couple of years, become interested in mental toughness. I listen to podcasts and read books by Navy SEALS like Jocko Willink and Mark Divine. I follow some of their tactics to grow mentally tough, though I’m not quite ready to follow the guys who suggest cold showers. There’s a lot to be learned from people who have a certain level of grit. And to learn how to get something, it’s really important to look to people who know what they’re talking about.
There are some elements of building mental toughness that translate into becoming spiritually tough as well. I believe that we have a need as Christians to be spiritually tough so that when the inevitable troubles of life come, we can stand strong. When we get thrown into the lion’s den, we can be like Daniel.
Have you ever been faced with a trial or a temptation where you ended up having less faith than you thought you would have had in a situation like that? Have you been thrown into the metaphorical lions den thinking that you would have the faith of Daniel only to fall short of that expectation? Did you look back and wonder why it happened that way? Have you ever wondered what you could do to build some spiritual toughness so that you can remain confident when things don’t go according to plan?
Today I’m going to begin a series about what we need to develop spiritual grit, starting with why we need it. Throughout the series, I will link to resources that may help you along this journey. Anytime you see something hyperlinked within the text, it’s probably going to take you to a book or a podcast that’s related to the topic. I hope you’ll check some of these things out for yourself.
We’re going to start, rightly so, with a story involving Jesus. To give some context here, Jesus had his core group of followers with Him as He entered into a garden to pray. Now, this wasn’t the entire 12, it was the main guys, Jesus’ BFFs. You would think if anyone would take this whole situation seriously, it would be these four. Jesus had told His disciples that He was going to be killed and that they should join Him in prayer about this. You would assume that they could handle that in a time like this. But that’s not exactly how it happened.
Jesus said, “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41)
Jesus asked them to pray and they fell asleep. He reminded them that the flesh is weak. It’s easy to look down on the disciples, but this is all of us. We are weak. We WANT to have faith. We WANT to trust God, but when it comes to the struggles we face in life. want isn’t enough. Our flesh is weak. That’s why we’ve got to develop spiritual grit.
Grit, which is defined as “firmness of mind or spirit,” is not something we’re born with. We have to work to achieve it. We have to strive for it, and it takes discipline, dedication, and a lot of hard work. We also never arrive. There’s never a moment that we just “have it.” This is an ongoing effort. It’s an everyday thing.
In the upcoming series posts, I’m going to cover three major elements that we need to develop spiritual grit. They are a firm foundation, the right mindset, and training. Without these things, we don’t stand a chance at being strong when faced with struggle.