Excellence is never achieved by accident. When Antonio Stradivari received world renown for his fine violins, his success could be attributed to his commitment to painstaking detail. These are supposedly the specifications Stradivari gave for “the  perfect violin”:

To carve a violin go to the Black Forest and cut out the heart of a tree 300 years old. Carry the wood to Greece and leave it there for 100 years . . . . Then take it to Italy for another 100 years. . . .

Thence to the White Cliffs of Dover for another 200 years . . . .

On, for another 100 years to the newly built Palace of Versailles. . . . For another century to the mountains of Norway.

Like a Stradivarius violin, our lives are the product of the care we invest in them. While I’m afraid it would take us several lifetimes to perfect the art of living, victory over the sins which rob us of our quality of life is possible in this lifetime—but it takes work.

We will engage in battle against sin until the day we die. Sometimes we will be victorious. On other occasions we will be overcome. One of the most basic disciplines we must master in spiritual warfare is perseverance. Everyone wants to succeed, but not everyone wants to persevere. Perseverance is essential for victory.

The Christian life is all about fighting, falling, and getting up to fight again. When we fail, we need to learn from our failures and move on with the new insights God has taught us. Little by little, we’ll start to see progress. We’ll find ourselves yielding to temptation less and less. We  fight our way to victory one battle at a time.

You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find joy in overcoming obstacles. — Helen Keller

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.