One of my favorite stories is Macbeth by William Shakespeare. If you aren’t familiar with the story, here’s a quick run-through. Macbeth is a Scottish nobleman helping the king during a war. As the war comes to a close, Macbeth crosses paths with some witches who tell him that he will become king. Macbeth hadn’t really considered becoming king a possibility before, but once the idea was in his head, he couldn’t let it go. The ambition to become king drives him to murder the current king, and Macbeth does become his successor.
But once Macbeth has the power he wanted, he spends the rest of his brief life trying to keep it. In fact, he becomes almost paranoid about losing his position, but his efforts to stay king end up leading to his own death.
Macbeth is a tragic story about how easily a person can fall when they choose to listen to the wrong voices. Macbeth doesn’t start off as a murderer. He’s actually considered a hero. But when he listens to the witches, he chooses to do things he never would have done otherwise.
Like Macbeth, we face lots of different voices and challenges in our lives. What do we do when we’re faced with situations that challenge us to do things we wouldn’t normally do? How do we hold our ground?
Listen to the Best Voices
In our lives, we’re surrounded by constant voices. Some of those voices are good and helpful to us, and one of the best ways we can hold our spiritual ground in faith is by listening to those voices that can help us most. In particular, we need to listen to the Holy Spirit. His voice is quiet, but He carries the words of God to each of us.
However, it’s impossible to completely avoid the other voices telling us to leave what we believe and do different – even dangerous – things. We need to learn to distinguish the good, helpful voices from the ones who want to pull us away from God, and that isn’t as easy as it might sound. But that’s why learning to know the voice of the Spirit is so essential. Once you know His voice and are practiced at listening to Him, He will be able to help you distinguish between all other voices.
Remember What You Know
In your life, you’ve learned a lot about what is right and what is wrong. You’ve learned what God’s law is, and what it isn’t. This knowledge can guide you when you face difficult situations. But sometimes, situations arise that make you unsure what to do.
While it’s good to have an open mind and a willingness to learn from people with different perspectives than you, make sure to base your decisions in what you know to be true. That knowledge of truth – eternal truth – is the most important thing to consider when you have difficult decisions to make. Start with what you know, then learn from other voices after.
Make Choices for the Long-term
We often make choices based on what we want in the moment. If we’re hungry, we might find the quickest, most convenient food option. There are lots of different choices we make that are based in the short-term. And some of these choices may not have big consequences.
But a lot of our choices do have longer-term consequences. And that means that, when we go to make our choice, we need to consider the long-term. What do we want long-term? Will this choice help us move toward our long-term desires or will it only satisfy us in the short-term? If we don’t keep the long-term eternal perspective when we make choices, then it’s too easy to focus on satisfying our short-term desires. Doing so can limit our progress toward our long-term desires though, which is why careful consideration of the long-term is so key to our lives.
Rely On Christ
Our Savior, Jesus Christ, suffered and experienced every moment of each of our lives. So when we’re faced with struggles in our lives, no one knows better what to do or how to respond than Jesus. He faced these struggles already. He knows you and loves you so much that He gave His life for you and willingly suffered for you.
Any struggle can be overcome with Christ. Every fight is won with Him. He can lift you up, heal you, and strengthen you when life feels like too much to persevere through. Christ can give you hope because He’s the reason hope exists. He makes everything possible, and He is the solution you need in every moment. Willingly give yourself to Him the way He gave Himself to you, and He will give you all you need to conquer.