During this week of reflection, with so many documentaries about Christ on television, has anyone discussed what unimaginable fortitude it took for Jesus to voluntarily go to the cross? How did He do it? Perhaps he focused on something even more important than pain.
In 1970,a made-for-TV movie entitled Tribes aired. The film centers around a new military recruit Adrian,(Jan-Michael Vincent) drafted out of his carefree hippie lifestyle, and the drill instructor whose job it was to make him into a fine soldier who obeys orders. Although I don’t remember much, I do remember a remarkable scene in which Gunnery Sergeant Drake, played by Darrin McGavin, forces Adrian to hold two full buckets of water on each side, shoulder-high, as punishment.
Now there were several possible outcomes here:
- 1. The Gunnery Sergeant will totally break the recruit’s spirit. Adrian will eventually discover what psychologist Abraham Maslow called, “learned helplessness.” That’s a belief that there is no way out of a predicament as one gradually accepts his fate.
- Adrian will rebel, experiencing increasing anger regarding his circumstances. Becoming bitter, he’ll lash out at life’s unfairness toward him.
- Or he’ll use his inner resolve to overcome and conquer this challenge.
This third option, in fact, is what Adrian did. He focused all his attention and mental powers on a special afternoon spent in the company of lovely young woman. In this state he was able to maintain holding the buckets aloft indefinitely, much to the consternation of Gunnery Sergeant Drake.
Each scenario represents how we make personal decisions as we approach life’s trials. In the face of adversity what do we do? How does our personality change? Do trials strengthen us or do we become embittered? Do we hunker down or throw in the towel and ask, “Why bother?”
Have you ever wondered what went through Christ’s mind as He was scourged and beaten beyond recognition as a scapegoat for our sin? Did the Lord question why He was doing this? Wonder why He was sacrificing His life for someone who tortured and murdered innocent children? The one who stole funds from that charity for personal use? Or that serial rapist the judge let go, only to do it again? Yes, Christ died for all sinners, even those who simply lied, stole pencils from the office or gave in to gluttony. Every one of us is guilty of sin before the Lord.
Aren’t you grateful that Christ didn’t give in to the discouragement He must have felt because billions reject Him? Or became angry and bitter due to our apathy toward sin? Or disobeyed God’s Will in Gethsemane to avoid unfathomable pain?
I believe He focused on the countless faces who He became an offering for. He focused all his attention and mental powers on that future victorious day when Ellie, Sandy, Bill or whomever accepted Him as their personal Savior. He remained focused, knowing it was worth the sacrifice. Praise God for that!
Now the question is, are we living up to His incredible sacrifice? Are we focused on becoming a New Creation for Christ or are we idolizing food as our god?
When life becomes hard, we face our own challenges, whether it’s health concerns, addiction or financial problems. Do we remain focused on what’s really important in life: Eternity? By praying for the power to remain strong against trials and temptations, His strength will always assist you! HE IS RISEN!
“who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” (Titus 2:14)