We live in an age that values convenience and instant gratification.
But life doesn’t work that way. Life isn’t convenient and instant: It’s full of challenges.
The most successful people in life, whether in the world or in the Kingdom, bless their challenges rather than curse them. They see challenges not as barriers but as opportunities to make themselves better.
Jesus was famous for embracing challenges, including his enemies. He never shied away from them, but always faced them head-on, guided and strengthened by God. We are to follow Jesus in everything we do, so if he embraced and blessed challenges, so should we.
All too often, our default (as modeled to us by the world) is to complain about challenges and barriers. Sometimes we complain to God, but mostly we complain to the world. We complain that things are too difficult. We complain that someone else has an unfair advantage by virtue of their sex or skin color or language or heritage. We complain about the transit system. We complain about bad drivers. We complain about the produce selection. We complain about the weather. We complain about prices going up and our income going down. We complain about our health. We complain about our relationships. In fact, we’re so good at complaining about our challenges, we’ll even complain on behalf of other people for challenges that don’t affect us and are in fact none of our business – but heck, if it’s a challenge, it needs to be cursed and complained about.
We need to put that complaining mindset behind us as a relic that no longer has a place in our lives. We’re in the Kingdom, not the world, and Jesus showed us that challenges and barriers are opportunities to better ourselves, and so should be embraced, not cursed. That is the basis for his teaching on loving our enemies. We don’t curse those who hate us or challenge us; we love and bless them, and we embrace them even as we embrace the challenges they present to us.
Of course, like everything else in our lives, we’re not going to be able to bless and embrace our challenges without God’s help. Also (and this is important, so pay attention here), we’re not always going to succeed at overcoming our challenges. Sometimes – even after asking God’s help – we’re going to fail, because we need to fail occasionally.
That’s how we learn best and stay humble. Failure is as important to our progress in the Kingdom as success is, and like challenges (and enemies), failure should be embraced, not shunned and complained about.
Considering the above, I would like to challenge you right here and right now to make a list (even just a mental one) of all the things that you see as dragging you down or as being barriers to your success. Then I’d like to challenge you to take that list and turn it inside out, so that the challenges and curses become opportunities and blessings, so that instead of complaining about your challenges, you use them as a starting point and an opportunity to make yourself better.
Remember – you don’t overcome evil by cursing; you overcome evil by blessing. Jesus taught us that.
Now let’s put it into action.