10 Biblical Principles to Foster Emotional Resilience

| March 18, 2019

Among the character traits necessary for success in business, few are more essential than emotional resilience.  Business takes a toll on your physical and mental health, with long demanding hours of work, the stress of responsibility, and no promise of success.

A science is developing around the development of emotional resilience as a learned skill that can be taught and trained.  The American Psychological Association defines resilience as “the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or even significant sources of threat.”  The United States Army offers a series of programs designed to service men, women, and their families in developing resilience, so that they can develop the emotional toughness to carry on in the face of difficulty.

James Maxwell described the resilience in business (and in life) in his book Failing Forward: “The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception and response to failure.”  “If you are not failing, you are probably not really moving forward.”

Christians should bring to business an emotional resilience based on Scriptural principles.   We should face life and our work with a clear-eyed understanding that being a Christian does not guarantee business success, or even advance it – but living by Christian principles secures to you the emotional tools to continue on when others fall away.  Here are ten Biblical principles which will foster business and personal resilience.

1. Problems and Failure are sure to come

Much of any life is random.  Solomon wrote that “time and chance happen to them all” (Ecclesiastes 9:11).  Job said that “man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward” (Job 5: 7). Do not view problems or failure as something strange or unexpected.

2. See Purpose in all Things

God does not cause all things, but God is in all things, working for good.  “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8: 28).  In every failure, see the good and the purpose of God in it.

3. Forgive

Do not carry resentment of past wrongs.  Rather, forgive others as God has forgiven us: quickly, completely, and with compassion.  Jesus taught us to pray “forgive our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (Matthew 6: 12).

4. Stay in the Present

Do not try to see or plan too far down the road.  Make short term goals, achieve short term success.  “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things” (Matthew 6: 30).

5. Keep Moving Forward

In the words of Job (in his days of great adversity) “Yet the righteous will hold to his way; and he who has clean hands will be stronger and stronger” (Job 17:9).

6. Give Thanks Always

A thankful heart does not dwell on past failures, but sees the goodness of God all around. “In everything, with prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known unto God” (Philippians 4:6).

7. Shun Isolation

Business can be lonely, especially in times of adversity.  Your team will be a source of strength and resilience.  “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor.  For it they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up” (Ecclesiastes 4: 9, 10)

8. Practice Self-Care

Make sure that you are not so consumed with problems and work that you fail to set aside time for your rest, with physical and emotional recovery. Jesus told His disciples to “come aside by yourselves … and rest a while” (Mark 6: 31).

9. Refocus on Jesus Christ

It is easy to become spiritually distracted in the midst of work, success, and failure.  Make it a discipline to “consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls” (Hebrews 12: 3).

10. Don’t Despair – and instead Pray

Jesus taught “that men always ought to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18: 1).

A Christian in business moves through adversity, is not discouraged by failure, and is renewed daily in the grace of God to move forward.  Paul wrote that “we are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down but not destroyed” (II Corinthians 4: 8, 9).  And so be Always Resilient.


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