Our attitude can make the difference between success and failure. It’s one of the first things people notice when they come face to face with us. If we’re not careful, we can let the world’s influences affect our mindset and make us slip into a wrong way of thinking. Guarding our minds against attacks from the devil by maintaining the right mindset helps us keep the right attitude when trouble hits.
We may not realize how much we depend on ourselves until something happens, and we think we can work things out on our own. This stems from pride, which is all around us. We struggle uselessly until we realize that we need the help of someone much stronger, wiser, and more knowledgeable to guide us through. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5, 6). This is a humbling realization, but it moves us into the place where we need to be in order for God to be able to deliver us.
Life has many moving parts, and only God knows exactly what’s up ahead and out of sight on our Christian walk. Relying on ourselves often leads to failure; relying on Him dramatically increases our chances of success. No one wants to stay stuck in a painful situation and keep suffering. However, God uses it to burn out the self-reliance we didn’t even know we had and to refine our trust in Him. “In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1:6, 7, NIV).
Suffering hardships brings us to the place where we have to admit that we need God. We can’t do anything without Him. God is our source for everything; the sooner we learn to rely on Him, the quicker He can get involved in our situation. “I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing” (John 15:5, AMPC). Trusting in ourselves cuts us off from God.
Satan is hard at work in the world, causing pain and spreading misery. God isn’t to blame for the bad things that happen; however, He uses them to mature us spiritually and strengthen our faith in Him. Suffering provides an opportunity to realign our attitudes to God’s way of thinking. “Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God” (1 Peter 4:1, 2, NIV). Suffering is never God’s will for us, but letting it burn out all self-reliance in us is His will.Suffering is only transitory. A godly mindset helps us think past the temporary to the eternal. “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you” (1 Peter 5:10, NKJV). From this perspective, it’s well worth the brief encounter.