As the saying goes, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” At the very point of deciding to retreat or continue forward, certain choice points are being considered consciously or unconsciously. To move forward we need to overcome 5 common temptations.
1. Not to give in to fear. One acronym for fear is “false evidence appearing real.” The Lord promises to go with us in all we do, especially if He’s commanded us to proceed in a particular direction.
One method is to call out the bluff, “So what if no one comes to the seminar?” “So what if I ask forgiveness and they don’t give it?” “What if I tell the truth and they don’t like it?” Sometimes we have to speak directly to our fears, even out loud. Jesus spoke to his temptations with scripture, “It is written….”
The words God spoke to Joshua apply to us, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
2. Stop listening to our irrational, emotion-driven responses. We must stand strong in the face of wavering. “Why should I finish seminary? Most ministry careers don’t pay much. My time could be better invested serving others.” And yet, I heard God’s whisper, “Get the degree.” It took effort to move forward one class by one class, obscure or not, and finish.
Sometimes the matter requires a decision of obedience. We may not feel like continuing toward a goal. But feelings can be fickle. Feelings follow determination. How many times do we not feel like getting up and going to church on Sunday? Once we arrive we’re glad we went. The feelings follow the actions.
When things get tough, our feelings start screaming at us. “What are you doing? Stop this right now.” Rising above the feelings to determined decisions set the course for our ability to conquer tough challenges in life.