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The Resilient Christian (3 secrets to long-lasting success)

Jesus terrified the disciples. At least, I would have been terrified while listening to Jesus’ grim predictions of the future. There they sat atop of the Mount of Olives overlooking the Temple while Jesus described in vivid detail impending wars, imminent persecutions, and global plagues. Yet in the midst of describing this terrible time Jesus gave the secret to enduring ministry and permanent achievement. He says, “In your patience – possess ye your souls (Luke 21:19).” From the words of Jesus we see that it is possible to preserve your life even in the most difficult circumstances. How can someone win at life, even while experiencing great tribulation, stress, and pressure?

 

Set a Reasonable Pace

Luke 21:19 In your patience possess ye your souls.

My goal is 40 years. Heather and I planted the church when we were 24. When we hit our mid-sixties we want to hit the exit door and move on to new adventures. So, if I’m going to last for another 30 years I had better set a reasonable life pace. I had better be patient so that I may endure to the finish line.

This means I must take control of my schedule and set priorities based upon God-given roles. To do this I have learned to say no to lesser pursuits. Not every good cause is a cause I have time to join. Not every good opportunity is an opportunity God wants me to pursue.

Friends, we must not relinquish control of our schedule to the whims or passions of everyone else.

This means I will have to take time off from the daily grind. This means I will have to say no to many speaking opportunities. This means I will have to occasionally go to bed early, wake up late, and take restful vacations. I can accomplish more in a steady 40-year marathon than a frantic 5-year sprint.

 

Take Care of Yourself

Luke 21:19 In your patience possess ye your souls.

 We must take time to care for spirit, soul, and body! I’ve determined that nothing will interrupt my personal devotional time, exercise time, and recreational time. This may sound selfish but I have realized that divorced from self-care I am utterly unable to care for the needs of anyone else. I may be able to help a few for a short time – but this hectic lifestyle will be unsustainable. But won’t I lose ground by slowing my pace and seeking preventative care? YES! But, what I lose in the short-term I will make up in the long-haul. I’d rather be a tortious than a hare.

 

Get and Give Mentorship

You need a mentor! Identify the one you want and approach him or her with this strait-forward proposition, “I’d like you to mentor me.” When you ask for something this boldly you must also be very specific in your expectations.   “I’d like to meet with you bi-monthly or quarterly. I’d like to ask you questions. I’d like you to challenge my presuppositions.” Then it is up to you to engage this mentor. Schedule the meetings and prepare for the conversation. Always pay for their meal. You should find this relationship to be rejuvenating and refreshing. These interactions should be informative, inspiring, and instructive. Do not be too discouraged if the relationship grows stale. This can occur for multiple reasons. Simply continue to love your former mentor while moving on to another who is able to help you get to the next level.

Moreover, give to another what you are getting. Find a disciple to pour your life into. Don’t simply see yourself as a mentee but also as a mentor. There are few things more refreshing than sitting down with an enthusiastic follower who is eager to learn. These relationships will build you up and help you maintain a long and fruitful ministry.

 

Follow the advice of Jesus to find life in your patience. And even in the most terrible of tribulations you will see endurance, resilience, and triumph.

 

Comments? Questions? Queries? Complaints? I want to hear them all. Please converse with me in the comment section below:

 

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