By Kevin V. Rutherford
Have you ever noticed that attitude and mental toughness can enable an individual to overcome great odds and obstacles? Sometimes the slower runner wins the race. Sometimes the weaker man wins the fight. Sometimes the less talented team takes the championship. Why? Attitude is the answer.
Two missionaries were doing some work on a remote island. One of those missionaries was tall and thin. The other missionary was the opposite in build. A local islander spoke of how difficult it would be to walk from one end of the island to the other. This was true because in order to do so, one would have to go through thick brush in some parts and climb a mountain in the center of the island. He looked at the two missionaries and told the tall and thin one he wouldnt make it. Then he expressed his confidence that the shorter, wider missionary would be able to get across to the other side. Why? He knew the shorter, wider missionary had the mental toughness to complete the task.
A Biblical example of this principle is found in 1 Samuel 14. Saul was king of Israel at the time. He was ruling over a people who were being oppressed by the Philistines. Things were not going well for Israel when an event occurred which gave the Jews courage and strength to turn the tide. Saul had a son by the name of Jonathan who had a tough mental attitude. His determination and will power came from his faith in God. He and his armor bearer decided they would go by themselves and attack the entire Philistine garrison, Jonathan said, Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised it may be that the Lord will work for us. For nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by few (1 Samuel). Jonathan and his armor bearer climbed on their hands and knees over a steep slope to get to the Philistine garrison. Once at the top, the two men quickly killed twenty men. The Philistines began to panic which gave the other Jews courage. Soon the entire Jewish army had joined the fight and the Philistines were defeated.
Caleb is a second example of this kind of mental toughness that is based on complete trust and faith in God. When the Jews refused to go into the land of Canaan out of fear, Caleb stood against the cowards. The Bible says, Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it (Numbers 13:30). God later said, concerning Caleb, My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went and his descendants shall inherit it (Numbers 14:24). This different spirit is that mental toughness and determination that comes from a strong faith in God. Caleb later showed this great attitude again, when at the age of 85, Caleb was ready to conquer the giant people of Anakim and take the mountain upon which they lived.
We need to see the spirit of Jonathan and Caleb in the Lord's church today. Instead of complaining about every little thing that goes wrong, we ought to make up our minds that with the Lord's help we can accomplish great things for Him. Is your faith in God strong enough to give you an attitude of mental toughness (Philippians 4:13)
- Kevin Rutherford preaches for the Warners Chapel church of Christ in Clemmons, NC. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://warnerschapelchurchofchrist.org/