Today we continue our new series entitled, “Press through it!”
We have been looking at the following passage for a few days. Let’s go back to it again this morning. The Apostle Paul said:
“I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows—was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
(2 Cor 12:2-10 NIV)
So what does this mean to you today? A few things.
1. Sometimes we don’t want to acknowledge why we are facing what we are facing.
a) Paul was called up to heaven. He experienced things no mere human is supposed to experience until they get to heaven. He then lived to come back and tell about it. The experience was so amazing that Paul was running the risk of becoming full of pride. So when satan attacked Paul with a full-time demon, God allowed it. God could have removed the demon and Paul asked for the removal three times. But God allowed it because the constant opposition was something Paul needed to remain humble. God did not provide the demon. God did not come up with the bad situation that happened to Paul. But when Paul asked for the removal, God chose not to, because of an internal flaw Paul had. Paul grew to the point where he was mature enough to acknowledge the fact that his “thorn in the flesh” was not removed because of his own issue. We should all strive to be as mature as Paul. Many Christians today are blaming God for things that: 1) He did not put on them, 2) are only there because of something they did, and 3) will not be removed because of something they are struggling with internally. My point is that we should never blame God for things we brought on ourselves.
b) God provided a roundtrip ticket to heaven for Paul. Paul was the one who had the pride issue. Pride opened the door to satan. Satan provided the demon, not God. Since Paul understood this, Paul did not blame God. If we would be honest, many of the things we have blamed God for along the way actually came as a result of our own decisions/issues. We opened the door to satan, satan came right through it and attacked us, and we then blamed God for a situation we placed ourselves in. It takes a certain level of maturity to look in the mirror when we are facing challenges to see what we did to get there.
c) If you don’t like the harvest you are reaping you must check the seed you are sowing.
2. Once you get past the blame game, you can embrace the grace to press through it.
a) It’s hard for you to embrace God’s grace to face something if you are blaming God for the situation. You have to get past the blame game first.
b) God is a good God. Every good and perfect gift comes from Him (James 1:17).
c) Satan is the one who comes to steal, kill and destroy. God wants you to have life and enjoy the life He has given you in abundance, to the full, until it overflows (John 10:10).
d) Get this simple truth down in your heart: God is good and satan is bad. This truth is so simple that it sometimes takes a preacher to confuse people. God is not out to get you. God did not put sickness or disease on you, just so He can turn around and heal you. God did not put you in a bad situation, just so He can get you out and look like a hero. God is not trying to give you a “blessing in disguise,” He is not trying to trick you. The truth is, God is good. He loves you with an unconditional love. He is more committed to you than you are to yourself. Even when you are faithless towards Him, He remains faithful towards you (2 Tim 2:13). So stop blaming Him for attacks from satan or for situations you placed yourself in. Once you get past the blame, you can embrace God’s grace to press through it.
e) When you are no longer blaming or questioning God, and you are convinced that He loves you, you are then in position to fully embrace His grace to overcome every challenge you face. But if you are blaming God, His grace won’t flow through you, because faith works by love (Gal 5:6). Your faith will only be strong when you are convinced that God loves you and that He is only out for your good!
Declaration of Faith:
Father, I know You love me. You are not out to get me. You are not putting bad things on me to teach me a lesson. Every good and perfect gift comes from You. I have an adversary and he will do all he can to stop me. I also sometimes make poor decisions and I am working through my internal flaws. When I sow bad seed I get a bad harvest. But I refuse to blame You for something satan did or something I brought upon myself. I am convinced that You love me. I know You only want to bless me. So I open my heart to Your love and I fully embrace You grace to press through what I am facing today. I can and will overcome, because You love me and You are with me! I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
This is Today’s Word. Apply it and prosper!