In Anna and the King, Anna Leonowens wrote of the uneven success she experienced in Siam. The contest between enlightened and autocratic rule served to limit, not expedite success. She wondered if a cup of cold water would be all she could give. If soothing a wounded spirit constituted her only ministry. If the occasional rescue of a forlorn child made her efforts worthwhile.
She constantly struggled to decide whether the little she could accomplish outweighed the greater evils she couldn’t overcome. As a result, “One day she would feel utterly futile, depressed; the next, strong with the satisfaction of accomplishment.” p. 344-345
Jesus had that experience with the Twelve-in-Training. Most always their spiritual progress was glacial, measured in inches. Only rarely did they offer possibility. And only once did they soar completely above themselves, Matthew 16:16. Even then they immediately fell back to normal, Matthew 16:22-23.
Daily discipleship is like that. Daily is the best way to live for Jesus, as he directed, Luke 9:23. In reality it’s the only way, for it’s the increment of time in which we live. Yet the efforts of a single day can be either satisfying or frustrating: something or nothing achieved; little or much; progress minute or maximum; habits unchanged or finally reorganized.
Daily may be the only way we can live, but we dare not let any single DAY determine our fruitfulness or sterility in God’s work. Perseverance in adding day to day, to become week to week, etc., is necessary for us to experience and see the progress in Christ-likeness the Spirit faithfully builds in us as we remain persistent.
Having a bad day today? Persevere in your work. Having a good day today? Persevere in your work. Perseverance offers the certainty of success. Not what happens in any 24 hour period.