To succeed at some things you have to do what is counterintuitive – you have to act in a way that does not seem natural. If you are a farmer you hide seed in the ground in order to produce more… If you want to make money you invest it in order to make a profit (the temptation is to hoard it – not invest it)… If you want to win at boxing you move in close to your opponent or in the martial arts you’ve got to take advantage of your adversaries momentum toward you in order to overcome him.
As difficult as it seems, in spiritual things, we are also called upon to do what is counterintuitive… Here’s an example from my Bible reading this morning…
“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 1:2–4 ESV)
The temptation when we face a trail? To gripe and complain – to resist and resent it – to become impatient and impudent. God’s word says, “Consider it all joy!” Believe me, that’s counterintuitive! It takes faith! It takes commitment! But the results are positive… steadfastness (inner strength that comes to sustain you in your trial!) And ultimately? … Believe it or not, you become “perfect (have a developing maturity), complete, and lacking NOTHING!”
Hard to believe isn’t it? But I’ve seen it work! People I know who have faced incredible trials and tried it; instead of getting bitter – get better. They evidenced in the midst of difficulties – trials that would make most people wilt and unravel – an increasing strength of character, beauty of spirit, and radiant joy that attracts others to them and glorified God!
All I’ve got to say to all of that is this… Oh Lord, when I face a soul-shaking trial, help me do what is counterintuitive!!