Feb 21, 2020
Who do you think of when you hear the words, true grit? Nearly all of you answered, John Wayne, which is who I think of as well. It’s been over 50 years since the 1969 classic starring John Wayne as Marshall Rooster Cogburn in his only Oscar-winning performance.
Historians believe Cogburn was based on Deputy U.S. Marshal Heck Thomas, who brought in some of the toughest outlaws.
In the movie, fourteen-year-old Mattie Ross hires Rooster Cogburn to hunt, arrest, and bring to trial her father’s killer, Tom Chaney. Mattie seeks Cogburn out because she had heard that Cogburn had “true grit”. The rattlesnake scene still brings chills up my spine!
You Old Gizzard!
If John Wayne is the first person that comes to mind when I think about true grit, duck and goose gizzards are the first thoughts about grit. MY sons and I love to waterfowl hunt but no one loves eating them. Our solution? We collect duck meat all season—breasts, hearts, and gizzards—and make pepperoni sticks made after the season ends.
The gizzards take a commitment because you have to clean out the grit and remove the putrid yellow lining.
Unlike humans who have one glandular stomach where digestive enzymes are secreted and digest food, birds also have a muscular stomach, or gizzard, to crush and digest grain, seeds, nuts, and shells picked up while feeding. The gizzard is essentially a grinder, using small rocks or grit as grindstones for pulverizing all ingested material for digestion.
Life is a grind at times. And grit doesn’t just happen. It’s a process. It takes time, strength, and the tenacity to grind obstacles into digestible components.
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance
Angela Duckworth in her monumental work, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, observed that individuals high in grit were able to maintain their determination and motivation over long periods despite experiences with failure and adversity. She and her colleagues concluded that grit is a better predictor of success than intellectual talent (IQ), based on evaluations of adult educational attainment by GPA among Ivy League undergraduates, dropout rate of cadets at West Point US Military Academy, and National Spelling Bee participants.
She summarized with, “At various points, in big ways and small, we get knocked down. If we stay down, grit loses. If we get up, grit prevails.”
The idiom “no guts not glory” isn’t as accurate and “no grit no glory”, for attrition has caused many courageous men to throw in the towel. But those with grit use it to wipe the puke off their mouth, blood and sweat off their face, and tears out of their eyes—then keep charging!
True Grit, the Prequel
Before John Wayne was anybody’s savior, Jesus’ example of grit in the face of adversity is matchless. Hebrews 12:1-3 paints a tenacious picture of Jesus, ”Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Jesus is our model for grit. He is our example. With His Spirit living within us believers are the grittiest people on the planet. Sold out followers of Jesus are the toughest people on the planet. I’ve never met anyone with as much grit as a passionate follower of Jesus.
Another word for describing the personality trait of grit is disambiguation. Disambiguation is the act of making something clear. It distinguishes between different meanings of words, clears things up, brings into focus that which is blurry. When you see the word disambiguation, think of clearing up confusion or leaving no doubt.
Grit leaves no doubt because with grit there is only one way—finish strong. No grit, no glory!
How do you make a troubled marriage great again? Grit. How do you overcome bad choices you made before following Jesus? Grit. How do you live a victorious Christian life in the midst of your personal brokenness? Grit. How do you get off the ground when Life has knocked you down? Grit, with God’s help, Grit!