The ability to spring back

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

Good Monday Morning to this week 47/2018

The scientific study of resilience shows how to increase our chances of recovering from challenges. These principles are related to biblical perseverance.

An important conclusion from scientific studies is that resilience or perseverance is a skill that can be learned through training. The Time article listed 10 “expert tips” for developing the skill of resilience. Let’s analyze these tips and see how each one correlates to fundamental biblical teachings.

Joseph can be thought of as a come-back king. His brothers planned to kill him because of jealousy over a prized garment, but they eventually sold him into slavery in Egypt. As the story is told in the Book of Genesis, Joseph worked for a man who placed him in jail in Egypt because of a lie. During this time in prison, Joseph interprets dreams for other convicts. The talent Joseph possesses leads him to the ruler, who was having dreams about a coming famine in the kingdom.

After interpreting the dream correctly, Joseph was given a position of great influence. He managed the agricultural efforts of Egypt and he was in charge of distributing food. Joseph’s brothers finally approach him after he ascended to his post. Ten years had passed, and Joseph’s brothers wanted food. He told them who he was, and Joseph forgave them for what they had done years earlier. His brothers and father move finally to Egypt to be with Joseph.

Joseph teaches us to recognize we can’t determine what the future may hold. Unforeseen circumstances and conditions make up our existence, including calamities and victories. We also can gather holding grudges does not produce happiness from this Biblical story. Joseph shows us an attitude of optimism should always be adhered to, even in dire situations. The story of Joseph reminds us to be hopeful and have faith when there is no reason to think our surroundings or state of being will improve, at least in our foreseeable future.

Here a few thoughts of by Rick Avent on Perseverance and Resilience:

1. Develop a core set of beliefs that nothing can shake.
The Bible goes a step further by emphasizing not just any core values but the specific values. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2).

2. Try to find meaning in whatever stressful or traumatic thing has happened.
In a broader sense, our trials serve as a training program to help us see our weaknesses and grow. Job’s experience is an excellent example (James 5:11). David expressed it well: “For You, O God, have tested us; You have refined us as silver is refined. You brought us into the net; You laid affliction on our backs. You have caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; but You brought us out to rich fulfillment” (Psalm 66:10-12, emphasis added throughout).

Peter recognized that resilience was among the key components signifying growth. “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:5-8).

3. Try to maintain a positive outlook.
A more suitable term than optimism is hope. Romans 5:1-5 summarizes the fullness of hope. God suggests a more coupled interaction that works both ways. “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4). Here we see that perseverance (resilience) leads to hope (optimism).

Yet in Romans 8:25 we also see the reverse. “But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.” Here the scripture indicates that hope leads to resilience. A contradiction? No, but rather an indication that hope and resilience reinforce each other interchangeably as we learn and grow.

4. Take cues from someone who is especially resilient.
God goes a step further and asks us to also learn from the examples of those who failed (1 Corinthians 10:6-11).

5. Don’t run from things that scare you; face them.
This concept is consistent with how God expects us to not only examine ourselves and face our sins (2 Corinthians 13:5), but learn from them and change, repent and grow.

6. Be quick to reach out for support when things go haywire.
God has set up a dual-support system for us. First, He provides direct access to Him through prayer. Second He gives us the support of the Church through both individual relationships and prayers of the brethren. Reaching out through prayer can train our brains to react more calmly to stress, creating more resilience—a renewing of the mind (Romans 12:2).

7. Learn new things as often as you can.
This idea fits right in with the biblical admonitions to study and meditate.

8. Don’t beat yourself up or dwell on the past.
Some simply can’t seem to move on from the past. Either they can’t forgive themselves, or they can’t forgive someone else. This is a huge impediment to resilience (Hebrews 12:15).

Forgiveness is central to the New Covenant. “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). It is through forgiveness that we can put the past behind us and move on with our lives—an essential component of perseverance.

9. Find an exercise regimen you’ll stick to.
Paul sums it up well. “But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things,.

10. Recognize what makes you uniquely strong—and own it.
Scientists tend to point toward an individual’s personal strengths as a key to resilience. Such strengths clearly can play a role. “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10).

But what is it that makes us uniquely strong? Abraham had it. Moses had it. David had it. Daniel had it. Peter had it. Paul had it. The answer is faith.

Growing in perseverance
Scientists have concluded that resilience, or perseverance, is not a disposition or personality type. Rather, it is a skill set that can be learned, making it possible to not only endure trials but to thrive during and after them. We see this includes learning from biblical examples, self-examination, repentance, forgiveness, prayer, Bible study, meditation, hope and faith.

Applying these principles can make a major impact on how successful we are in conquering our trials and challenges.

I wish you a week of much “springing-back” as you do not become tired of doing good!

Philemon

 

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