Living My Faith: Knowing Possibilities
In living your faith you face possible discouragement and even burnout. We have looked at managing our priorities, bible study and prayer. One of the greatest prerequisites for commitment is to have a teachable spirit. You can’t grow spiritually if you have all the answers. You must be open to new experiences in Christ or you become stale. Not only does your ability to inspire others vanish, but if you are not willing to learn, decay in your relationship with God is unavoidable. A leader is someone who others follow you. If you are a Christian someone is following you. A leader is first of all a student, and must be teachable.
Develop a positive attitude. Don’t dwell on past failures. “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,” Paul advises, “ who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). Allow the promise in these words to positively affect your attitude. If you have a bad attitude, others sense it. Your ability to remain encouraging and optimistic toward ministry diminishes. Not only do you burn out, those who look to you for guidance fall by the wayside.
Have reasonable expectations on yourself and on others. If those you disciple do not grow immediately, don't be discouraged. A new Christian, for instance, does not jump from new faith in Jesus to an immediate ability to apply the Word of God. Patience is required as people grow in holiness. Any unreasonable expectation places an unjust burden on both a you and a the person you are discipling. Expectation becomes an obstacle to growth and both experience frustration and undue stress. Don’t expect too much too quickly. Realize that not only are you both human, but that a high goal may only be found through the accomplishment of smaller reasonable goals.
Be honest when you make a mistake. Forgive yourself and others. “Now the Lord is the Spirit,” Paul writes, “and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (II Corinthians 3:17). Be humble enough to admit when you’re wrong or don’t have an answer. Trying to be a “perfect” Christian in the eyes of others only creates disappointment when you make mistakes. Let your mask down. A willingness to be vulnerable invites vulnerability in others. It inspires honesty, but, greater still, opens each person’s heart to the healing presence of the Holy Spirit.
If you fail, forgive yourself. If someone else fails, forgive him also. Don’t hold on to your failure. Examine it. Realize the lesson; apply the lesson and then give it to God. Don’t dig it back up. It’s gone. Forgiveness for your own mistakes and for those of others is consciously rendered. We decide to move on, and trust the Lord for the strength with which to accomplish it.
When you allow the Lord to deal with your heart and mind, you have a teachable spirit. The renewing of your mind creates the ability to see have reasonable expectations. It creates a forgiving heart that believes in God's faithfulness. With these kind of qualities stress, discouragement, and burnout are things that will no longer have the ability to render you spiritually helpless. Living your faith will be as natural as breathing.