Volume 15, Number 2 – FEBRUARY, 2021
Greetings. I pray your family and you are healthy. The leadership article is the completion of three dealing with being resilient. Enjoy both articles and be encouraged. Mike
Dealing with hardships disciplines us, develops us to become stronger and more clearly focused. Hebrews 12:7-8 speaks about enduring hardship as discipline and that we are being treated as God’s children when we do go through such. Hardships that come into our lives are not always the result of us doing something wrong. Some hardships enter our lives because we live on this side of heaven and life is simply hard. (Take Mary and Joseph for example to be given the responsibility of birthing Jesus and then raising Him.) In either case, hardships have the potential to develop who we are in Jesus, to become more like Him, thus developing in holiness.
What does resilient mean? The definitions include being able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions, to quickly recover or bounce back (difficult to keep down. Another definition is being able to recoil or spring back into shape after bending, stretching, or being compressed.
Being resilient through difficult times and situations keep us focused on today. Resilience is many short races being run and finishing. Yet, we tend to sabotage what we do. The story is shared about how many rabbits you will catch when you are chasing two of them. You will not catch either one because you can not focus on both. So just focus on one to catch. We do not know what the future holds, so focus on today, on what you can control.
To remain emotionally healthy, which greatly affects our spiritual health, simply daily take control of what you can control and give up control of what you cannot control. This will help in allowing us to finish our daily tasks and responsibilities without worrying over what we cannot control. We will face difficult things today. Get through them this day and know that you develop in your spiritual development (your holiness).
Going through difficult things in life and remaining resilient, you find out what you really are made of. When we go through difficult circumstances we learn what our values, beliefs and convictions are; what we are made of. Who you are is refined in the tough times of life. A piece of iron is shaped into what is supposed to be under a great deal of heat and pressure. Values in people not tested cannot be trusted yet. We do not really know ourselves until tough times come.
Peter found out what he was really about when he ended up denying Jesus the three times prior to the crucifixion of Jesus (Luke 22:31-34, 54-62). But did Jesus was His hands of Peter after those denials? Not at all. Be resilient when you fail. Get up make things right with the Lord and others, then pursue Jesus with all your heart. Do not stay down!
One other dynamic with resilience, is that resilience causes us to be creative, to think outside the box. We probably will not do things again the same way. In resilience we are so often forced to attempt things we may never had considered or thought up yet. And in many instances, to think more like Jesus. The old does not work anymore, insert the new.
2020 has caused us to think, live and do things differently. There is no longer the “normal”. Granted there have been some very difficult things in life we have had to deal with especially if we were quite sick with Covid, we know of someone who we hold dear that passed away from this disease or we dealt with another form of tragedy in our lives. To this we need extra grace with being resilient. But in so many other aspects, we have had to think outside the box of how we were living life and have found new avenues of accomplishing what we set out to do.
Build on the resilience you learned in the past year and represent Jesus even better!
TURN YOUR HEART OPPOSITE OF DEMAS’ HEART
How much do you love Jesus? When life is not tough and it is pretty easy to be a Christian, answering that question can be very misleading. In the New Testament Paul worked with many people. Demas is mentioned a few places as a fellow worker and even highly regarded (Colossians 4:14, Philemon 24), but in 2 Timothy 4:10, Paul told Timothy Demas left him because Demas loved this world.
The way Paul described Demas leaving or deserting him is very strong. The idea is when Demas left Paul, Paul was left in a difficult situation, “holding the bag”. Demas’ timing was not good as he was in charge of some very important ministry responsibilities (and in cases like this, it is never good). Without Demas, Paul needed Timothy to come very quickly to fill that void. How could someone like Demas bolt from the scene so quickly?
Well, Paul made the bold statement that Demas loved this world. Paul himself was in a very difficult situation, close to his death, possibly in prison and Demas could not handle it. Loving the world more than loving Jesus is very dangerous in your relationship with Jesus as it shows hatred toward Him (James 4:4). Thus, when it is no longer easy to be a Christian and there is a cost to stand for Jesus, you won’t.
What does it mean to love this world more than Jesus? One aspect is denying Jesus when you may get laughed at or shunned. Another is when the opportunity arises be involved in a good, clean activity, you choose to do something that is wrong. There will be times when you want to hang out with a group of “friends” and do stuff that does not honor God.
You know in your heart that you should do something that honors God and you do not do it because people may ridicule you or it make take some hard work to accomplish. Opportunities will come up to laugh and encourage jokes or statements that are derogatory and demeaning to others. Will you join in or not? Perhaps you are simply afraid to let people know that you are a Christian because you fear what others will think or say about you.
Demas was an important and faithful helper of Paul’s. He was deeply involved in ministry work, acting and looking like everything was great in his relationship with Jesus. His deserting Paul did not happen in an instant. The likelihood that this decline was over a time period. Rarely does any event happen all of a sudden. Evidence usually verifies that there was a build up to the “explosion”.
Have you been making some wrong, negative decisions lately? They will build upon one another and pretty soon, something drastic will result. You may say to yourself, “How did this happen?”. Examine your heart right now and see if you are being disobedient in any way to Jesus’ leading and to the Bible. Stop, confess that you are doing activities and making decisions that are against who Jesus is and make a 180 degree turn to do the right things. Have someone keep you accountable that way too.
If you frequently do not want to be associated with Jesus, then you need to revisit your relationship with Jesus – whether you have one or not. Someone can hang around Jesus all their life and still not be a Christian. Look at Judas’ life. Do not be a Demas. Make sure about your relationship with Jesus and ask Him for strength and courage to live the way that will honor Him.