September, 2014

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Outlasting setbacks: Lessons from Apostle Paul

Resistances are there whether you drive or swim or fly. Likewise, as you communicate your cause, vision, messages, products, services, and as you go out to relate, there will always be resistance from near and afar alike. The question is, are you ready to withstand resistances and move on with the same sense of obligation you started your leadership journey?

As you already know, whether it is in water or a fire hose, or bullet barrel, the more the resistance is built inside, the farthest the content inside can go. The harder the string is swung behind, the farther and the harder it hits. The more resistance you are confronted with means you are shaped to reach far.

Let me just surprise you. No one challenges or criticizes or competes with someone he/she thinks beneath them. Unless they think you are above their pay grade, they don’t strive to draw your attention by challenging or criticizing or competing. Unless they believe that you matter, they don’t waste their energy, time, and resource to resist your progress. Therefore, rejoice!

Let me share with you the extraordinary story of persistence demonstrated by Apostle Paul, who passed through challenges, persisted, and finally get shaped to shoulder huge responsibilities at the early stage of Christianity. You too can overcome and persist…

Paul was from a very educated and affluent family. By all accounts, he was a very lucky man coupled with prestige. Gamaliel, a renowned Rabbi, mentored him. When he grew up, he became powerful to the extent of getting direct orders to do whatever he wanted including jailing and killing Christians.

As he traveled to execute one of his assignments, he was struck down on the road to Damascus (Acts 9). He was blinded for days and received   his sight back when he accepted his call.

Unfortunately, the moment he responded to his true call and took a leadership initiative, his old friends persecuted him. They stoned him to death (Acts 14: 19). At one point, a group of devout religious strong men vowed not to eat until they killed him (Acts 23:21).

These continual setbacks and persecutions never slowed him down. He pursued his mission, which was to preach the good news. Nonetheless, his rivals finally got lucky and he was locked up in prison. That was when many left him, and became ashamed of him. He even had to encourage his successor- Timothy not to be embarrassed by his chain (2 Timothy 1: 8).

However, this setback didn’t stop Paul from pursuing his assignment. Using the new circumstance for his own advantage, Paul wrote many epistles to his followers. These letters constitute two-thirds of the New Testament. Since he put in place an enduring system, and mentored his successors very well, his mission wasn’t chained with him.

Though he was confined, his followers were out there, and they turned the world upside down. Within a few centuries, Christianity transformed from being considered as an outlawed cult group into a major player in the then super power Roman Empire.

The question to you is: How do you view setbacks, challenges, and obstacles in your life, family, business, and/or ministry? Do you view them as blessings in disguises? Do you consider them opportunities to grow and become wise? How do you deal with setbacks? Do you embrace continual setbacks and use them in your favor? When you face with continual setbacks, do you feel like quitting or persisting?

Remember this, if your assignment is big (which I believe is), expect continual setbacks and challenges. If your vision is far reaching, anticipate giants that stand between you and your Canaan.

The choice is yours. Those who walked before you- your heroes and heroines, they persisted and finally overcame. They left us legacy. That is why they deserve honor. How do you want to be remembered? As a complainer or worst a quitter or an overcomer and conqueror? The choice is yours…

Taken from “The 9 Cardinal Building Blocks for Continued Success in Leadership” Pages 128 – 129