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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Three Mistakes to Avoid in the Face of Difficulty

In review of John 16:33b it says, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Bottom Line:
On earth, we will experience troubles, but we should be confident in knowing that Jesus has overcome the things of this world.

What this means to me:
While I’m part of this world, I will experience trials, sorrows and troubles. But I should be encouraged knowing the Jesus has overcome the things of this world and he will help me through them.

Trouble is just part of life. I will have difficulties! Jesus tells me so in John 16:33b: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (NIV).

In Acts chapter 27, we see examples in when Paul set sail for Rome with other prisoners. They faced great difficulties on their journey because the winds were against them. Paul warned the men on one leg of their voyage that if they set sail, they would be caught in a major storm and the results would be disastrous. They decided to sail anyway, making three common mistakes that are the same mistakes we tend to make that get us into trouble.

First, don’t listen to and follow bad advice. “[They] followed the advice of the pilot” (Acts 27:11b). God had already said not to do it, and Paul warned them not to do it. But because the “expert” said it was OK, they did it. If God tells you to do one thing and all the experts in the world tell you to do something else, don’t listen to the experts. Listen to what God says.

Secondly, don’t follow the crowd. “The majority decided that [they] should sail on” (Acts 27:12a). The majority is often wrong! The majority of the Israelites wanted to go back to Egypt, and they were wrong, too. Peer pressure can keep people from doing what God wants them to do.

Thirdly, don’t rely on circumstances. “When a gentle south wind began to blow, they saw their opportunity” (Acts 27:13a). Paul warned the others that they were heading into a storm, but they sailed anyway. I should not go through every open door I see. I should not take advantage of every opportunity given to me. I should not accept every job that is offered to me. Satan can arrange circumstances, so I need to ask God for his direction.

I think experiencing difficulty allows me to turn my faith and hope towards him, otherwise I would only learn to count on myself.  Knowing these three mistakes will help me avoid them when I’m faced with difficulty in my journey.

As I reflect on these three common mistakes, I know I’ve done each of these. I’m probably more prone to following the crowd, mainly because it’s easier, I don’t have to think and it's usually the most socially acceptable action. After that I probably rely too much on circumstances.  Both of these likely reflect the easy path, not needing to think or check in with God. The good thing is that God has been able to weave even the bad choices I have made into making up who I am.  I just need to listen to what God says, not cave into peer pressure, and continually ask Him for direction.