It’s tempting as leaders to operate according to this popular idiom: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” After all, who doesn’t want to be strong and press through challenges? But Jesus offers a better way.

Jesus’ disciples chose the better way when they couldn’t cast out a demon. Remember the story? A desperate dad asks Jesus to help his demon-possessed son because the disciples weren’t able to. Jesus commands the unclean spirit to leave, and the boy is freed. Everyone is amazed, including the disciples – who no doubt exerted a lot of unsuccessful effort beforehand.

What happens next is key. Instead of memorizing Jesus’ exact words or mimicking the sequence of His actions, the disciples sought Jesus out. They sought out the person of Jesus Christ – their Lord, Teacher, Friend. And they talked with Him (Mark 9:14-29).

Here’s the point. When the going gets tough and strategies fail, we don’t need a new strategy as much as we need Jesus. Our Lord, our Teacher, our Friend. Yes, He may give us new insight, but more than that He’ll give us Himself – His presence, fellowship, comfort, reassurance, and love. That is always what we need most of all – Jesus Himself.

5 Things Jesus Says When the Going Gets Tough

1. Come to Me (Matt. 11:28-30).

2. Stay with Me (John 15:4).

3. Apart from Me you can do nothing (John 15:5).

4. You can do all things through Me (Phil. 4:13).

5. I am your exceedingly Great Reward (Gen. 15:1).

Leadership is challenging. We are in constant need of direction, wisdom, and vitality for our responsibilities. There are lots of people and places we can turn to for these things, but the very best person to turn to is Jesus. He says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Yes, we need direction, but first we need Jesus. The same is true for wisdom and strength. In the process of being with Jesus, we will be renewed in a Spirit-to-spirit way that surpasses all other relationships. And He will also lay out the path, the wisdom, and the strength we need – in His timing.

As leaders, we’re well aware that “the going” often gets tough. When it does, instead of bucking up or giving up, simply look up. Remember Jesus. Remember that He’s with you. And spend enough one-on-one time with Him to feel His delight in you and receive whatever He lays out for you.   

“When the going gets tough, instead of bucking up or giving up, look up to Jesus.”

- Lisa Hosler

Is there a verse you’re drawn to during challenging times? Feel free to share it in the Comment Section below.

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