Three Mistakes to Avoid in the Face of Difficulty
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33b NIV)
Trouble is a part of life. You will have difficulties! Jesus told us so in John 16:33: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (NIV).
In Acts 27, Paul set sail for Rome with other prisoners, and they faced great difficulties on their journey because the winds were against them. Paul warned the men on one leg of their voyage that if they set sail, they would be caught in a major storm and the results would be disastrous. They decided to sail anyway, making three common mistakes that are the same mistakes we tend to make that get us into trouble.
1. We listen to bad advice. “[They] followed the advice of the pilot” (Acts 27:11b). God had already said not to do it, and Paul warned them not to do it. But because the “expert” said it was OK, they did it. If God tells you to do one thing and all the experts in the world tell you to do something else, then don’t listen to the experts. Listen to what God says.
2. We follow the crowd. “The majority decided that [they] should sail on” (Acts 27:12a). The majority is often wrong! The majority of the Israelites wanted to go back to Egypt, and they were wrong, too. Peer pressure keeps a lot of people from doing what God wants them to do.
3. We rely on circumstances. “When a gentle south wind began to blow, they saw their opportunity” (Acts 27:13a). Paul warned the others that they were heading into a storm, but they sailed anyway. You should not go through every open door you see. You should not take advantage of every opportunity given to you. You should not accept every job that is offered to you. You should not date everybody that asks you out. Satan can arrange circumstances, too, so you need to ask God for his direction.
Knowing these three mistakes will help you avoid them when you are faced with difficulty on your journey of faith.
Talk It Over
- Why do you think God allows you to experience difficulty on your journey of faith?
- What is an example of a time you got into trouble because you made one of these mistakes?
- How did God deliver you in that situation?
This devotional © 2017 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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