How do you handle obstacles in your life? We all face them. Some are harder than others, some have a wider impact than others, but we all face them. It’s how we handle them that reveals our character.
I heard a teacher once say that it’s the rocks in the river that make the water sing. It’s the same in our lives. If there were no obstacles we’d get cozy in our own little worlds and we’d grow very little emotionally and spiritually. Introduce obstacles and that’s when the rubber meets the road, so to speak. Obstacles make you reach down inside and see what’s there.
You usually cannot stop obstacles from coming, but it’s how you react to them that reveals your character. By working on how you respond to things that happen around you and to you and those you love, you can make great progress in shaping your character the way God would have you to be.
The definition of character that we’re talking about here is, “The way someone thinks, feels, and behaves: someone’s personality.” You were born to be who you are, but you weren’t born perfect. In fact you were born as a fallen human being, spiritually dead and subject to the influences of this world. You were born less than the person you want to become. It’s ‘becoming’ who you really want to be that’s the hard part.
God can help! By turning to him, through Jesus Christ, before and when obstacles arise, you can use that obstacle to your advantage and hone your character to be more like Jesus Christ.
When Jesus and his disciples were caught in a boat in the middle of a big storm, Jesus was asleep. The disciples were filled with fear. That’s often how we respond to situations we can’t possibly handle on our own. We panic. We run for cover. We get mad and yell at the clouds and the lighting and we make our own thunder! There are all sorts of reactions that people have from crying to violent outburst. Different people react different ways. Let’s see how Jesus reacted when the disciples woke him up in the middle of that storm.
Matthew 4:35-41 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.”
Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him.
A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.
Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
At least they knew who to go to when the storm appeared! That’s the key to overcoming obstacles by the way — call on Jesus. Trust in the Lord. Confide in him and ask for help.
Different people react in different ways in the same situations. Why do we react differently? These different reactions arise from our belief system. Think about it. Why do you react the way you do when things happen? It’s because of what you believe, most likely based on previous experiences you had that were similar to the current one.
I’m not fond of the word obstacle. Obstacles are immovable. Opportunities are not. I like to call obstacles opportunities. I was taught this many years ago and I fully embrace the concept. If you turn every obstacle you face into an opportunity to trust the Lord and overcome, you will become more and more like Jesus Christ, day by day.
Obstacles are simply opportunities to become more like Jesus Christ.
Do you believe that? The next time an opportunity arises in your life, go straight to your father God through your Lord Jesus Christ and give it to Him. Seek His guidance. Do what you feel He is telling you to do. He may have you tunnel under it, or go around it, map a different way or barrel straight over it. He may have you wait. He sees what you don’t. Trust Him.
I’ll leave you with this powerful section of Scripture from Romans that talks about this very thing — honing your character to be more like Jesus Christ by embracing the opportunities that are presented you throughout your life.
Romans 5:1-4 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;
perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Next time an opportunity confronts you, embrace it, go to God and become more like Jesus Christ in the process.