The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. A good example of this in my past would be an unhealthy relationship that was a disaster from the beginning. But, I was stubborn and determined, and no matter how many times he hurt me or let me down, I would stay by his side. I thought that if I stuck around long enough, he would change- he would see that I was someone worth treating well.
Fast forward two and a half years. Yes, years. My life had become the definition of insanity. I was trying so hard, working harder than I had at anything in my entire life. And time after time, no result. Insanity.
So, how is that different in our Christian walk? I was working out today and thought that listening to Jay Pathak's sermon on perseverance would be good to listen to while sweating an toiling. I listened to the same sermon yesterday as well at the gym, and was really inspired by his message. When I listened to it today, I heard more layers. While I was working the biceps, his definition of perseverance really struck me: "Doing the same thing over and over again, even if it's small, and expecting a HUGE result." How is this different than insanity? I've heard that Jesus was either speaking the truth and He was The Christ, or what He was saying was completely false and he was a lunatic. In the same sense, by being a follower of Jesus I am either continually being sanctified by His grace or I am a complete looney.
What is it that makes perseverance different than insanity? I don't have the answer for everyone. But the thing that makes my repeated actions perseverance and not insanity is Hope. I have a very real hope and knowledge in the Truth that this is not as good as life gets. I know that my consistent disciplines of confessing sin, entering into God's presence, and just plain old walking the rocky path of life will refine me in a way that will constantly leave me pointing the attention to the Holiness of God. I know that my actions will not earn me heaven, but they will allow me the opportunity to experience this side of God's Kingdom amidst the crazy darkness of the world.
I don't have to move miles at a time. Millimeters. Tiny, baby steps. It can be as simple as not being lazy. Not lying. Reading the Bible regularly. Not being as selfish. Not spending money we don't have. Putting down the bottle, fork, the syringe- and running in confidence to the throne of grace. It's not easy, but the more we do it, the more it becomes part of how we deal with life. It doesn't make things go away, but it helps to ensure the bad things in life do not define who we are.
Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result.
Perseverance: Doing the same thing over and over again while knowing the eventually, through the grace of God, something will change.
Grace and Peace.