If you believe in your heart and can confess with your mouth that you are a good person no matter the circumstances, then you should not be afraid of any obstacle! Well that’s the general view. But does that truly mean that you always know what you’re capable of doing when faced with high conflict? That you will always stick to your moral limits? And that you will always be at peace? No. We are not robots. We can strive to be perfect, but when we land below the threshold it’s important to not be too hard on ourselves and give up or come out of character. We have to behave like Christians and the key is being Christ-like.
Do not let the obstacles in your life dictate your God-given purpose.
From a realistic starting point we should not give into fuelling conflict or negative situations where emotions are high. Don’t be in a rush to watch the news or scroll through social media pages. Take a mental break. Find something mentally relaxing each day to do, like meditating. Keep striving to live a good life and be a good person, regardless of the obstacles that you face in life.
Temptation will come regardless of your faith because we live in a sinful world where good and evil is equally rampant. Jesus was continuously tempted too and he quoted scripture to fight obstacles. Equally, do not let circumstances or what someone has done to you steal the best years of your life. Fight back! God has a purpose for you and His will is perfect and His grace is sufficient. Our faith gives us peace in the midst of the storm.
Jesus is the perfect role model.
We can do all of these things because Jesus Christ did it. Jesus’s life and His faith should strengthen and empower us because we know that any evil thoughts (not acted out but there is internal conflict) can be defeated by good fruits of the spirit. Fruits of the spirit are being planted every time time we faithfully ask God for help.
God’s help may not come when or how we want it to come, but that requires us to be patient with God and to practice self-control as well, which are good fruits of the spirit to harvest. We cannot get out of our spirit what we did not put in. Therefore, we should pray on a daily basis for God to guide our path and be more aware about our lifestyles.
I tend to ask myself a series of specific questions in order to reflect on my lifestyle. I think that it is important for us to evaluate whether we are living an authentic lifestyle that will please God and be beneficial to ourselves and others.
Who do I allow to influence me on a daily basis? What am I watching or listening to on a daily basis? When do I find the time to pray or reflect on my lifestyle (daily, weekly, monthly)? Where do I go on a daily basis? Why do I choose to be influenced by this person, place or thing? How does this benefit me? If the answer makes you feel uncomfortable then you need to explore whether change is necessary to feel comfortable with your lifestyle.
“When a man’s ways please the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.”
Proverbs 16:7 NKJV
Internal peace = good mental health.
Unfortunately, internal conflict is on the rise during the pandemic. Bad mental health only produces bad fruit like anger, which leads to depression or domestic violence; wherever it festers. We have to learn how to fight the temptations of the flesh and not give into negativity or constantly be angry. Take a deep breathe, calm down and listen to the small voice of joy, love and peace in your spirit.
The reward of having control over our fleeting human emotions (and in turn our actions) is to first be at peace with ourselves and then others. The truth is simply that we cannot say that we love God if we do not strive to have peace and love with others. This starts with asking God to work on our hearts so we can cultivate joy, love and peace within. We have to choose to receive internal peace before we can produce good fruits. Then we can encourage others to be good by leading by example whenever we interact with them.
“If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.”
Romans 12:18 NKJV