Developing the right Mindset
In order to have spiritual grit in life’s storms, we have to decide beforehand how we will handle things. It’s very difficult to know what to do when we’re in the midst of a crisis, so we have to know ahead of time. We have to plan for the possibility that things won’t go according to plan.
We can look at struggle as a chance to grow or as a chance to complain and give up. In the book Unbeatable Mind, former Navy Seal Mark Divine says, “SEALs operate at an elite level because they know how to discipline their minds and secure the win internally before they enter the fight.” How can we discipline our minds to secure the win internally before we face problems in life?
I’ve found that for me, the key place to go in the Bible when I’m working on getting my mindset right is Romans 8. If anyone had spiritual grit, it was the Apostle Paul. We can learn so much from him. We’ve got to embrace the promises in this chapter and live according to them. Let’s take a look together.
Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:31-39 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Nothing, none of the scary things in life, can separate us from the love of God, so what are we afraid of? Through Jesus we are more than conquerers, so where does the negative self-talk and the negative mindset come from? If God is for us, what could we possibly have to worry about?
I want you to highlight or underline a word in verse 28. “GOOD.” When times are hard for you, I want you to use this as your motto. Learn, with me, from the former Navy SEAL, Jocko Willink, what it means to have this attitude.
You didn’t get the promotion you wanted? GOOD. You get more time to improve. You got a devastating diagnosis? GOOD. A chance to be closer to God and develop stronger faith. You can’t sleep? GOOD. More time to listen to God. Though Jocko and the others who teach on mental toughness aren’t talking about spiritual matters, you can see how very much the same principles apply to growing spiritually tough. In fact, I think Jesus’ half brother James would approve of this lesson from Jocko.
James 1:2-4 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
James essentially said, “Suffering? GOOD. You get to grow.”
Now look to the example of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. When facing a very serious dilemma, they turned to God. When they were in a situation that could cause one to lose faith, they had a firm foundation. Listen to what they said and take it to heart.
“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from your majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, your majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
Underline the phrase “even if.” That’s your other new motto. Now, when you are in a dilemma, put your trust in God. Decide before anything happens, that “even if” He doesn’t answer the way you expect, your trust in Him will remain. I want you to thing about whatever is weighing you down right now. Whatever thing you’re hoping for or expecting. Now, say to yourself that even if that doesn’t happen you’ll still trust in God and move forward.
Jesus has already won every trial we could ever face, we just need to accept that.
We don’t have to fight to win, we’ve already won through His victory. Or, as Timothy Keller says, “You can make it through the furnaces of your life because Jesus took the only furnace that can really burn you.”
When we live with that mindset, we can endure the hard stuff with grit.