Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)
Trials and tough times have been promised to the disciple of Christ. And we have also been promised the presence of Christ during those difficulties. Today’s word of encouragement can be summarized under the heading of resilience: the ability to adapt to the adversities of life and keep moving forward in faith. The Bible is filled with examples of resilience in action, such as Job in the Old Testament and Paul in the New Testament, and Scripture also give us many exhortations to keep pressing on, even when we find ourselves in the pressured cooker of challenge. Here are just two of them:
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21)
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12)
Because we as Christians are united to Christ, resilience is the only right response to the waves of challenge that will inevitably confront us in this life. The same power that raised Jesus from death to life is the same power that is at work inside every child of God (Ephesians 1:19-20). That resurrection power is not bestowed on us to give us power to return to something — that is, “bouncing back.” Rather, we have been given the power to break through to a better and brighter future. Because we are new creations in Christ, there is nothing to bounce back to; everything is in front of us. Yes, we are to treat the past as a school and take the lessons from it, as I often remind our congregation at Cross Community Church. But bouncing back would keep us living in the past, rather than teaching us how to move forward from the past.
So the next time you are feeling the heat from the fiery furnace of affliction and challenge, or if you are simply dealing with the increasing pace of change in today’s world, know that God has promised to bring you through all of it and cause you to bounce forward, not back. For the child of God, the best is always yet to come, and we are to be moving forward — leaping forward — not looking backward. God is bringing us to the end of ourselves . . . and that only happens while we are moving forward in faith.
May these God-breathed words encourage you to keep bouncing forward, regardless of the circumstances you are facing:
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but no in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!