In today’s society, two popular factors, the “feel-good factor” and the “look-good factor,” are being confused with success. Anyone not feeling or looking good is often regarded as mediocre—even a failure.

The church can easily fall into this trap, all in the name of longing to have a good testimony for the Lord. A deeper look at Christ’s own testimony will set us straight.

In Mark 14:27-42, Jesus was nearing His atoning death at Calvary. As Jesus fought and won the battle of the will, Luke said that “His sweat became like great drops of blood” (22:44). In all this, and the terrible agony of the crucifixion that followed, Jesus neither felt good nor looked good. Rather, He was good and did good by choosing His Father’s will and fulfilling it. His anguished obedience was later followed by joyful resurrection.

Has your heavenly Father entrusted you with an agonizing situation in which it’s unrealistic to feel good or look good? Don’t despair! He values what you are and what you do as you die to self and embrace His will. Jesus knows that this often feels and looks messy. The truth is, it honors God and eventually leads to victory and joy. What greater testimony than this?