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Jamie Johnson
27 October 2022


Recently, I heard a summary of college students struggling with resilience to a degree not seen before over a 30-year period. One situation involved a student contemplating suicide over a game of table tennis! And while there were some genuine mental health concerns, there were many trivial matters that seemed to sadly collapse the world of some of these young adults. This phenomenon echoes our culture -- the world system. We live in a culture where a person having a different point of view from the narrative of the world system or one expressing a perspective or belief (even a quote from the Bible) that is challenging to the world system is considered "unsafe" or "violent" or "dangerous" or engaging in a personal attack. Our culture is one of self-focus where people expect to have their own preferences and comforts in place instantaneously with the expectation that all others cater to those preferences. Otherwise, there is cancelation of anyone who or anything which does not comply with those demands. The world system invents victimhood where there is none, even looks for it. People look to be offended to justify their attacks. If you look to be offended, you will find it. If you have a faulty foundation, you will be shaken.

There are certainly genuine mental health concerns and struggles among young adults (and others), and I'm not belittling that fact. However, situations involving the inability to cope with normal things (such as with persons having or expressing different or challenging perspectives) demonstrates a profound lack of resilience. And resilience is based on the foundation of our identity. If my identity is in a shaky foundation, it will be insecure at some level because those things on which it is based will one day pass away (some sooner than others).

1 John 2:15-17 (NASB) says the following:

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world -- the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life -- comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

If I base my identity on something of the world, then there will be a shaky foundation that will one day collapse. This foundation impacts resilience or the lack thereof.

What type of foundation are you building on -- temporal or eternal? 2 Corinthians 4:18 (NASB) says,

while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

So, there are two options for foundations: temporal and eternal. They are described in the wise and foolish builders. Jesus spoke of the wise and foolish builders in Matthew 7:24-27 (NASB):

Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts on them, will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of Mine, and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and its collapse was great.

Let's look at each one of these in turn. First, we look at foolishness, which undergirds the temporal foundation:

In 1 Corinthians 1:18-19 (NASB), the Scripture says the following:

For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:

I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
And the understanding of those who have understanding, I will confound.

The truth of Scripture is foolishness to those who are perishing. We cannot see anyone's heart and do not know what their future holds or what God will do, but those who deny Christ, who hate truth, who do not believe in God do indeed want to be without Him and hate Him, His Word and those who represent Him.

Psalm 14:1 (NASB) echoes the folly:

The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God."
They are corrupt, they have committed detestable acts;
There is no one who does good.

Now, don't get on a self-righteous high horse. The end of the verse says, "There is no one who does good." That includes you and me. I am no good and neither are you in and of ourselves. Yet, those in Christ, while we do struggle with sin, do not want to continue to sin. In contrast, the carnal man says, "I don't need to change" or suggests that knowing Jesus won't do anything, when he has not known Jesus. This is arrogant as he thinks he knows all (enough to dismiss Jesus and His power) and demonstrates no basis for evaluation. One who says that has never met and placed faith in Jesus and has not experienced the change thereof. Again, I cannot see hearts, certainly, but when Jesus met people, they changed. Zacchaeus gave money back. Saul of Tarsus -- a murderer of Christians -- became Paul the Apostle. Rosario Butterfield changed when she met Jesus. I changed when I met Him.

Still, there is reality. I still sin. That's because I am still living in a body affected by a sinful nature in a broken world. We are all sinners (see Romans 3:23). I am no good; you are no good. God is holy. So, all sin (even mine) is an atrocity to Him. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us according to 1 John 1:18. But wait! There's more! We're guilty of it all! See James 2:10. And this is a sobering reminder that we all need Someone beyond ourselves.

We all need to change. Don't know Jesus? You need to know Him. Know Jesus? You need Him (every hour). There's no way to become more Christlike without Him. The Holy Spirit is all about working change in you because He loves you. That change in the believer is sanctification. It's not what justifies us (Jesus did that on the cross where He offered Himself freely taking your sin to the cross and offering His righteousness based on His completed work). Sanctification is what makes us more like Jesus. He wants to mold you to be like Him, to love others in the truth and speak truth in love (See 1 Corinthians 13:4-6 and Ephesians 4:14-15), and that's not the type of "love" the culture talks about where there is no challenge to your thinking and you are just left where you are. Jesus loves you too much for you to remain where you are.

Where is the hope in this scenario? How can one have true resilience? What about the wise man and a firm foundation on the Rock? That's where the hope is. The hope is in Jesus and His completed work - life, death, burial, resurrection. It is a free gift of grace. Do you believe?

You may be thinking: Wait, but I have done such and such. Remember, we're all guilty, but after listing sins in 1 Corinthians 6, hope is offered in 1 Corinthians 6:11 (NASB):

Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

It's not about you. It's about Him. To my brethren in Christ, remember what Jesus said in John 8:32 (NASB): "and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

I can speak the truth and walk in freedom in spite of what anyone says. Yes, I need to do it in love (and have failed at times). The world will call pure love restrictive or bigoted or close-minded. Yet, in Christ, I can hold up the shield of faith, which repels the flaming darts of the enemy. Consider the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 4:3-4 (NIV):

I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.

Even though there's freedom in Christ, the world, the flesh and the devil will come against you. When those times come, remember the words of Jesus from Matthew 5:11 (NASB):

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.

Hebrews 13:8 (NASB) says, "Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever." He is the unshifting foundation in Whom we need to find our identity. That is where lasting resilience is found. One song goes like this:

Jesus, You're My Firm Foundation
I know I can stand secure.

Why can the believer stand secure? In Christ. Because Christ is secure. If I am walking with Him, then I don't have to worry about what the world, the flesh and the devil say. I am walking in Truth. He said in John 14:6 (NASB), "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." And in Matthew 10:28 (NASB), He says, "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell." Only God condemns. I am to look at Christ as my standard and abide in Him as His Spirit works in my life to make me more like Him. Because I believe in Him, I am going to share about Him and His Word and the Truth. I cannot stay silent. And when people come at me to tell me not to speak of the Bible or Jesus, I will be all the more resolved to do so even more. If there is a firm foundation, I want to lovingly let people know. If there is a secure identity, I want to let people know. If there is means of true resilience, I want to let people know.

Romans 10:14 (NASB) says the following:

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?

In the meantime, Jesus offers you Himself. May He be your Foundation, eternal and secure. No other identity is as sure. In Him, there is true resilience in all things (See Philippians 4:13) because there is His Peace. True resilience isn't about how well you handle tough times yourself. Rather, true resilience is facing hard times when they come (and they will) and having His peace through them. Jesus said in John 16:33 (NASB) the following:

These things I have spoken to you so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.

Be resilient, not in yourself, but in Him. Don't grow weary. Galatians 6:9 (NASB) says, "Let's not become discouraged in doing good, for in due time we will reap, if we do not become weary" (Also see 45 Bible Verses About Resilience To Keep Going).

For now, I echo the words of Philippians 3:13-14 (NASB):

Brothers and sisters, I do not regard myself as having taken hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

May our identity be in Christ! He is the firm Foundation. And in Him, we can be truly resilient. Join me today that we may speak the words of Paul in Galatians 2:20 (NASB):

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

Brothers and sisters, may we support one another and minister to one another "and let's consider how to encourage one another in love and good deeds" (Hebrews 10:24, NASB).

May Jesus be the Hope and Foundation in Whom you place your identity so that in an uncertain world, there is certain resilience in Him.

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