We Can Withstand and Overcome Anything (Part 5) – Dealing with Persecution

by Rick

Today we continue our series “God is faithful!”  I was led to 2 Corinthians 4.  In this passage, we will look at what it looks like to believe God is faithful.  Because of God’s faithfulness towards us, we can withstand and overcome anything!

In our last message, we deal with verse 8.  Today we will look at verse 9.

(2 Corinthians 4:1, 7-13, 16-18 TPT)

1  Now, it’s because of God’s mercy that we have been entrusted with the privilege of this new covenant ministry. And we will not quit or faint with weariness.

7  We are like common clay jars that carry this glorious treasure within, so that this immeasurable power will be seen as God’s, not ours.

8  Though we experience every kind of pressure, we’re not crushed. At times we don’t know what to do, but quitting is not an option.

9  We are persecuted by others, but God has not forsaken us. We may be knocked down, but not out. 

10  We continually share in the death of Jesus in our own bodies so that the resurrection life of Jesus will be revealed through our humanity. 

11  We consider living to mean that we are constantly being handed over to death for Jesus’ sake so that the life of Jesus will be revealed through our humanity. 

12  So, then, death is at work in us but it releases life in you.

13  We have the same Spirit of faith that is described in the Scriptures when it says, “First I believed, then I spoke in faith.”  So we also first believe then speak in faith. 

16  So no wonder we don’t give up. For even though our outer person gradually wears out, our inner being is renewed every single day. 

17  We view our slight, short-lived troubles in the light of eternity. We see our difficulties as the substance that produces for us an eternal, weighty glory far beyond all comparison, 

18  because we don’t focus our attention on what is seen but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but the unseen realm is eternal.

So what does this mean for you today? A few things.

(2 Corinthians 4:9 TPT)

We are persecuted by others, but God has not forsaken us. We may be knocked down, but not out. 

(2 Timothy 3:12 NKJV)

Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.

Let’s break it down”

1.  Paul said, “We are persecuted by others…

What does persecution mean?  Let’s look at the definition from the Noah Webster American Dictionary of the English Language (1828).

To persecute:  To harass with unjust punishment or penalties for supposed offenses; to afflict, harass, or destroy for adherence to a particular creed or system of religious principles or a particular mode of worship.

Persecution:  The infliction of pain, punishment, or death upon others unjustly, particularly for adhering to a religious creed or mode of worship, either by way of penalty or for compelling them to renounce their principles.

— The Apostle Paul and many of his contemporaries (first-century believers) were persecuted for the cause of Christ.  

— The same misaligned energy that led to Jesus’ death was carried over to the followers of Jesus throughout the establishment of the early church.  People were persecuted for believing in a man who died and rose again.  

— If you want to walk in the power Jesus walked in, you must be prepared to experience the opposition He encountered while He was on the earth.  

— What you experience today may not look like what Jesus and Paul experienced because there are very few placed on this planet where you will be killed for naming the name of Jesus.  But can most certainly experience persecution today.  It just may look different.

— Today’s society is so liberal that those who truly believe the Bible are accused of being bigots, short-sighted and close-minded.  If you believe in Jesus today and you are led by the Holy Spirit, you do so at the risk of “cancel culture.”  This is a society that expects you to embrace whatever they say, and if you don’t, you can be “cancelled” for being different.  That’s persecution.

— You must be okay with being you.  You must know what you believe, and you should never allow anyone else to cause you to “dim your light.”  Jesus told us to “let our light shine.”  This means we must allow the Father to live through us, as we are led by the Holy Spirit, and in so doing, we will be different from the world.  We have to be okay with being different.  

— Don’t deny God or your beliefs just to fit in.  If you do, you will be sorry in the long run.  Conversely, if you hold fast to your beliefs and it costs you something, don’t worry, it will work out in the long run.  God will honor your sacrifice.

Here are a few things to consider as I close out this point:

— Both power and prosperity come with persecution.  If you operate in supernatural power, people will talk about you!  If you prosper in your divine assignment, people will talk about you!

— People criticize what they do not understand.  So if you live in sync with heaven, you have to be okay with seemingly like you are out-of-sync (sometimes) with the people in this world, and sometimes they will talk about you and come up against you.

— Your purpose will attract people to help you (that’s favor), but it will also attract opposition.  To make the divine impact you were born to make, you cannot be moved by people or opposition.

— People fought against Jesus.  If you start living, “As Jesus is, in this world” (1 Jn 4:17), people will fight against you too.  You have to be okay with it.  

*** Their poison cannot stop your purpose!  

— You cannot be moved by what they say.  

— You have to know that persecution is part of the package.  

*** If no one is talking about you, then you are probably not doing anything of significance for the Kingdom of God.  

2.  Paul said, “persecuted by others, but God has not forsaken us… 

— God never promised us an easy path to our purpose.  He just promised to be with us every step of the way.

— God will never leave you nor forsake you.  God will never turn His back on you.  God will never relax the grip He has on your life.  He is more committed to you than you are committed to you!

— God is faithful.  He will never give up on you.  When you know that, and you believe it, it changes you from the inside out.  

— You must believe that God loves you and that He is committed to you.  When you do, it emboldens you like nothing else.  

— Enter every day knowing that you are God’s beloved.  You are his favorite.  You are His child.  He will never give up on you.  He is faithful to you, and He always will be!

3.  Paul said, “We may be knocked down, but not out.” 

— Don’t think that the challenges you are facing mean you have done something wrong.  Many times, they mean you are doing things right.  You can be in the center of God’s will and still face opposition.  The good news is that you will never face it alone.  God is ON you, IN you, WITH you, and FOR you!

— If you are going to become the man/woman you are born to be, you must develop the grit, determination, and resolve required to deal with setbacks and disappointments.  

— Setbacks are a part of life.  Many times things will not happen when you wanted or expected them to happen.  The key is never giving up on what God said because you face a setback or delay.  You must push through it.  Keep believing.  If God said it, it shall come to pass.  GREATER IS COMING!

— One of the hardest things to do in the life of faith is to manage your expectations.  You believe God, you pray, you meditate and medicate on God’s Word day and night, and you listen to the Holy Spirit.  All of this leads to you GETTING YOUR HOPES UP!  But if you don’t tie those HOPES to God’s TIMING, you will experience the sting of disappointment over and over again.  I have been there more times than I want to remember.  I have felt the sting of disappointment many times.  It is part of the life of faith, as we learn to discern God’s timing, so we don’t expect things before their time.  But here’s the good news, as I close: you may be delayed, but if God said it, you will not be denied.  You can get knocked down, but you will not be knocked out!  Why?  Because God is faithful!

We will stop here.  I have given you enough for today.

Declaration of Faith:  

Father, I thank You for leading me to LEVEL UP in this season.  I LEVEL UP by keeping my eyes fixed and focused on You!  I know who I am.  I believe what You believe about me.  I am not ashamed of the man/woman You called me to be.  I am also not ashamed of You!  I will never deny You or what I believe.  I also know You will never disown and deny me.  You are committed to me.  Therefore, I am not moved by people’s opinions.  No one’s poison can stop my purpose.  I am loved by You, You are committed to me, and I am on the road to my destiny!  Nothing can stop me!  GREATER IS COMING FOR ME!  I declare this by faith.  In Jesus’ name, Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper.

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