Jesus never let His circumstances dictate His behavior. No matter what was happening around Him, He stayed focused… and there was a lot going on around Him! As followers of Jesus, we should never expect smooth sailing. If following Jesus was easy, I’m guessing a lot more people would choose to do so. Peter, one of Jesus’s closest friends, said we shouldn’t be surprised when fiery ordeals come upon us; we shouldn’t consider it to be unusual or unique to us (1 Peter 4:12).
In other words, struggles and temptations are always going to be present in our lives. They are a given. What is up to us is how we will respond. We can stay focused as Christ did, or we can allow ourselves to become distracted and choose the easier path.
We are good at choosing the easier path, even though we are fully aware it ultimately leads to our destruction. We ignore that “minor” detail because we don’t want to face any pain or discomfort. This isn’t how Jesus lived His life. If we would be followers of His, we can’t live like this either. Our calling is to stay focused, on task, and on mission. Are you willing to live your life like this? Society will tell you the easier path is the way to go. There will be constant pressure to compromise, and no applause waiting for you when you choose the more difficult way. Is Jesus worth it to you?
He is to me. That doesn’t mean I don’t stumble or have this whole thing figured out. But I do know Jesus is worth everything. Knowing this, I try each day to not let circumstances dictate my behavior. I never expect smooth sailing, and I’m okay with that. I just want to stay focused on what God has given me to do. Some days are easier than others, but the mission never changes.
If we know trials will come our way, they will be easier to deal with when they arrive; not easy, just easier. Circumstances will always drive us crazy. It’s natural to wish things were better or easier. I always remember what Jim Rohn said about those kinds of thoughts: “Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better.” We get better at dealing with trials by disciplining ourselves to keep our eyes on Jesus and the mission He began and passed on to us. Any trial I will face pales in comparison to what He endured on my behalf.
Life is difficult. A life following Jesus is even more so. Never expect smooth sailing. You’ll be disappointed. Learn to expect and embrace trying circumstances. Through these, we grow our trust and faith in Christ. Since serving Him is the ultimate objective of our lives, learning to trust Him more is something we should welcome, not try to avoid. We’ve got to stay focused. The reality of the implications of this war is both real and tragic. We must set our faces like stone towards the finish line. We cannot allow ourselves to be distracted. Storms will come. Circumstances will threaten to overwhelm us. But Jesus is our example and our Savior. He will lead us through. We must only stay focused on Him.