There are many things in life that we are persistent about; asking the boss for a raise, trying to save for a band new car, working to urge our children to clean their rooms, hinting at that special “gift” you’ve had your heart set on for so long. The list is endless! If there is something we really want we can be very persistent in exploring every avenue in order to acquire it.
I recall many occasions when I persistently nagged my parents about going somewhere or doing something with my friends, and it was only finally achieved through constant begging and pleading until their resistance wore thin. My immediate reaction to their compliance was, “Yay, I got what I wanted,” but there was always something hollow in the victory that left a smudge of guilt and shame on our relationship. Such is the interesting nature of persistence; it has a tendency to be self-centered and destructive to the process of relationship building. Besides, once your goal is won there is no longer any need for persistence until you want something else.
On the other hand, there are only a few things that I have been relentless in pursuing. Things like a good marriage, raising children and serving my Lord. Being relentless is different from persistence in that there is an ongoing process to which you are committed that requires growth, change and continual renewal of determined action. The goal of “relentless” is never achieved because it is a growing development of something living and valuable, and demands a constant vigilance to stay on course. The real, true things in life call us to pursue them relentlessly since they are always developing and changing as we “grow” after them.
Following Jesus and all the disciplines involved in that pursuit are never acquired by persistence! Our growing, living relationship with God through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit calls for us to be relentless. It’s a continuous searching, followed by constant discovery and the call for regular change that spurs and requires renewed searching.
Which should we choose to be, persistent or relentless? Being relentless is the only way you can grow relationships, because relentless is the way God loves us!
How exciting to be His people,
Pastor David Vanderpool