We were not meant to walk this path alone. As Christ demonstrated by engaging a band of friends to walk with Him, so we also must surround ourselves with those with whom we can share the journey. Sometimes it is hard to admit that we need help, and we attempt to go it alone. Indeed, there are times when none will go with us, but that is merely an opportunity to meet new friends who are already further along the road than we are. Remember, the goal is to model the life of Christ, and He chose to walk with a group of friends. Having established this, we must be very careful and intentional about whom we will choose as travelling companions.
It is very important that we select friends and role models that have a positive outlook. I’ve talked much about a positive attitude recently, but that only underscores the importance of having such an outlook. We live in a fallen world; evil and despair surround us. We are besieged every day by negative input from others and from our own experiences. When we are discouraged or depressed it is vital to be able to turn to those who can provide some clarity to our situation and help us walk through the minefields. We have more to look forward to than any other people on earth; we know how this ends, and it ends in the arms of Jesus. Therefore we need positive, faithful and Christ loving friends to help keep us motivated and to restore our perspective when we become lost.
Don’t choose to travel with those who are content with mediocrity. Jesus is the standard of excellence, and we must strive to reach the bar He has set for us. If your friends are the types who believe doing something “good enough” is indeed good enough, then you need new friends! Imagine building a house for someone who is homeless and deciding to build it just “good enough”. That is not the standard of service to which Jesus calls us. Jesus demands our all… all the time. Do everything you do as if you were doing it for Jesus Himself. Would you really cut corners or settle for “good enough” if you were doing something directly for Him? No, of course you wouldn’t. Besides, whatever we do for anyone in need, it’s the same as doing it for Christ. Keep this in mind as you go throughout your journey.
The Christian life is hard, and we will face many trials and defeats. Failures are merely the lessons of success. Don’t run from failure, but rather rejoice in it because with each failure you are one step closer to success. Since we are victors in Christ, failure is not a valid reality. Don’t focus on your failures. Learn from them, certainly, but do not linger too long in their midst. Instead, at regular intervals recount your blessings and the successes God has brought to your life. This was the Israelite tradition in the Old Testament. They would often gather together and tell the stories of the various trials God had brought them through and rejoice in the victories He had given them. There is no failure in Christ, only victory. We cannot focus on Christ and failure at the same time; they are polar opposites.
Find some companions with whom to travel as you follow the path set before you by Christ. Choose them wisely. Choose those who will encourage you and help you through the trials. Don’t accept or associate with mediocrity, but rather serve mediocrity with excellence. Be excellent for Christ, do everything with the knowledge that you are doing it for Him. Make a habit of looking back over the road you have travelled. Praise Him for the success He has given you, and thank him for the lessons of what, at the time, looked like failure. Surround yourself with like minded followers of Jesus. Stay focused on Christ; enjoy the adventure of walking together in the footsteps of our Savior and our King.