How To Become A Resilient Jesus-Follower
Learning To Be Resilient
If you’ve ever played sports at almost any level you know the importance of being resilient. I was a goalie in the real football (yeah, I said it) all the way through High School and played on travel teams for almost 8 years. One of the first things you learn as a goalie is to get back up. You tend to do a lot of diving and slide tackling but if you don’t get up fast enough there’s likely to be a ball at the back of your net.
I remember doing a training where I would dive overtop of trash cans and the whole idea of the practice was to get back up fast. You jump, you dive, you get back up as fast as you possibly can. There was no time to think about whether you made a good save or not. Your job was to get back up, defend your net, and make the next best possible decision to help your team.
Two weeks ago I wrote a blog titled, “Don’t Look Back: Giving Up Fear For Your Kingdom Purpose.” Last week, as I was meditating, praying, and going through my morning routine of breathing exercises I felt the Holy Spirit whisper to me the two words: Resilience and Obey. Of course, the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of being resilient is my time as a soccer goalie. But the first Scripture verse that comes to mind is when Jesus is sending out the disciples.
This is a big moment for them. We don’t know how long they were with Jesus at this point, but Jesus is sending them out to practice what they’ve been learning. As Jesus is giving them instructions on how to “go out” we come to this verse:
“If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.” -Matthew 10:14
I’m going to be honest with you, I feel 100% beat up today. My health has been up and down. I can’t seem to find the job I’m looking for which means it’s going to be hard to pay the bills here soon. To top it off, I had a horrific dream last night. It’s like Rejection has become my middle name. As Lauren and I are about to make some big decisions concerning our future, rejection is not the response I need right now.
Resilient. Ahh yes, that’s what we’re talking about!
Distractions are just that. They take our focus away from what the Holy Spirit is wanting to accomplish through us. I just filmed a Lectio Divina on Luke 4:1-8. In that Lectio I discuss how Jesus was taken into the desert by the Holy Spirit to fast for 40 days. During His time in the desert, he was “distracted” (distracted is a light word here) by the devil. Jesus could have easily allowed his “hanger” to get the best of Him. Instead, Jesus, resilient and full of the Holy Spirit, was focused on the Father’s task at hand.
This is one of the first movies (A Bug’s Life) that came to mind when I thought of distractions.
As long as we still have breath in our lungs we have a responsibility to be resilient no matter what happens. No matter how many rejections we face. No matter how badly we fail. The words of Rocky Balboa keep coming to mind:
“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!” (See full video here)
A Resilient Counter-Cultural Christ-Follower
Last year I preached a sermon on Valentine’s Day weekend on being a “Irresistible Counter-Cultural Christian” (You can see that sermon here). I won’t go into the history here but needless to say, Saint Valentine kept getting arrested and thrown into jail. However, for Valentine’s jailer, Asterius, there was just something about Valentine that made him irresistible to talk to. So one day, Asterius brought his blind daughter to Valentine to see if he could heal her. Asterius gave Valentine, and really Jesus, a chance. He brought his daughter to Valentine and after some conversations, her sight was restored and she could see. Praise Jesus!!
Here’s the catch. Do you think that jailer would have given Valentine a chance if he was angry, bitter, and lashing out every day? Absolutely not. Instead, Valentine loved his jailer and his family with the love of Jesus. Because Valentine was able to keep His focus on Jesus rather than his circumstances, Valentine became what I call a “Resilient Counter-Cultural Christ-follower.” Living in his Kingdom purpose, Valentine understood that He could be used by God no matter where he was – even in jail!
Jesus never promises us a “prosperous life” when we follow Him. In fact, He actually promises us the cross because to follow Jesus is to deny yourself and take up your cross every single day (Matthew 16:24; Luke 9:23). We aren’t promised temporary wealth or fortunes or power. We’re promised the Holy Spirit which is God dwelling among us to guide and lead us to fulfill the Great Commandment.
Because of God being with us we don’t need to let our distractions keep us from being resilient. Our failures, our rejections, our faults, or even our circumstances don’t have to be the things that define us or keep us from what God wants to accomplish through us. We can choose to not let those things hold us down! Instead, we can allow our resilience and hope in Jesus to push us forward into our God-given purpose!
You may be rejected, so wipe off the dust of your shoes and move on.
You may be thrown in jail, so love your jailer with the love of Jesus.
You may be treated poorly, so forgive them as Jesus has forgiven you.
You may be in a place you don’t want to be, so ask Jesus how you can serve Him wherever you are.
Be Resilient. Be Counter-Cultural. Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.
If you’re looking for a great worship song to be encouraged today, this one is my favorite when it comes to this topic:
Maranatha // מרנאתא
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I’d love to hear your thoughts on this article! Please remember to be kind and respectful. If you didn’t like something, I always welcome constructive criticism. However, any form of hatred, bullying, or racism will not be tolerated.
About The Author
Justin Boothby is a lifelong student who loves to travel, film, write, design websites, and life coach. Most importantly he loves to Pastor in all different kinds of ministry settings. He’s also an avid pizza lover, metalcore listener, and shot glass collector.
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Leave A Comment
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this article! Please remember to be kind and respectful. If you didn't like something, I always welcome constructive criticism. However, any form of hatred, bullying, or racism will not be tolerated.
About The Author
Justin is a lifelong student who loves to speak, travel, film, write, and coach. He has a goal of empowering others to grow closer to Jesus in practical and unique ways. After acquiring two degrees in Practical Theology and then studying in Israel for two years, Justin has a passion to help people read the Bible with a deeper appreciation in its original, ancient context.
M.A. Hebrew University of Jerusalem
M.Div. Regent University
B.S. Southeastern University