Western obsession with weight and appearance makes us particularly susceptible to claims about products that promise fitness without effort, weight loss without sweat. One company made big money selling anti-cellulite sneakers. Others tout muscle stimulation and weight-loss water. People love to think they've found an easy way to their goals.
Health and fitness experts tell us good eating habits combined with regular exercise is the best way to slim down. One requires self-discipline, and the other is work. Who wants to pay the price, if there is a no-strain, no-pain alternative? Who doesn't want to think there is an easier way?
In other contexts, it is the person who deceives himself into thinking he can continue to drink after a couple of DUIs and a job loss. It is the one who tells herself that an "innocent flirtation" at the office means nothing. It is parents who refuse to take seriously their child's brush with the law. It is a family trying to get all it wants with credit cards instead of saving money over time. It is the person who won't own up to responsibility and apologize for betraying a confidence and hurting a friend.
Want to know why counseling doesn't work for many troubled marriages? It turns up areas of the relationship that need work over time. But, immature and selfish people want a magical quick fix.
Know why some companies fail? It will take too much hard work over too long a period of time to correct problems, replace ineffective people, and penetrate new markets. Lacking a quick fix, there is bankruptcy.
Want to know why once-thriving churches die? Somebody gets hooked on the notion that spirituality is a new program or gimmick rather than fruit-bearing by the gentle presence of the Holy Spirit. So members go church-hopping again.
One of the virtues that gets too little attention these days is persistence. Not stubbornness. Not pig-headedness and inflexibility. But perseverance, over time, in pursuit of a noble and worthwhile goal.
And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. (Romans 5:2-4 NIV)