Article by Ken Webb, Field Ministry Director
Photo by Pixabay
Let’s dive into the concept of resilience, a remarkable capacity that enables us to recover from life’s many difficulties. Resilience is a crucial life skill that equips us to rebound from a wide array of challenges, such as illness, poverty, criticism, abandonment, death, fear, anxiety, and depression. In essence, think of resilience as an indispensable tool for a fulfilling and healthy life.
However, it’s important to note that being resilient doesn’t mean we’re invulnerable to stress or hardship. Rather, it means we possess a unique perspective on these inevitable life trials. Resilience empowers us to find purpose and significance in the face of adversity and gives us the strength to spring back from life’s setbacks.
How the Christian Life Fosters Resiliency
We have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies (2 Corinthians 4:7–10).
Let’s take a fresh look at just a few spiritual disciplines and practices of the Christian life.
Prayer and Solitude
If Jesus often withdrew for solitude and prayer, that should be our first hint. These times are rich soil for cultivating awe. They also give us an opportunity to practice gratitude, and we can certainly learn something about ourselves here as with all the following disciplines.
Giving and Serving
Taking our eyes off ourselves and turning them toward others cultivates meaning, builds community and fosters gratitude.
When we take intentional time to acknowledge that we are not God, we learn to self-regulate properly and keep in perspective our place in the grand scheme of things (which develops both meaning and awe).
This point writes itself. In every way from the general assembling of believers for corporate worship, to discipleship and just breaking bread and sharing life, we need to be with other people. The Christian life is a call to community.
Time in the Word
There is no better “self-assessment” than spending time in God’s Word. The Bible tells me who I am. It tells me what Christ by his Spirit promises to do in me. I know where I can stand firm and what parts of myself to hold with an open hand, ready to be surprised by God’s work.
We do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:16–18).
What strengthens a Christian’s “inner self” and keeps him from losing heart even though his “outer self” is wasting away? Where he chooses to focus the gaze of his eyes of his heart.
The Christian life supports and develops our resiliency. As we conclude, ask yourself this question: What spiritual rhythms, disciplines or practices in your life do you see fostering the resilience factors mentioned above?