We Can Withstand and Overcome Anything (Part 30) – Pleasure During Pain

by Rick

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

(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.

Today’s message will flow in the same vein as yesterday’s.  I will continue to focus in on verse 16, while also looking at 2 Corinthians 12:8-10.

(2 Corinthians 4:16 TPT)

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. 

(2 Corinthians 12:8-10 TPT)
8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to relieve me of this. 

9 But he answered me, “My grace is always more than enough for you, and my power finds its full expression through your weakness.” So I will celebrate my weaknesses, for when I’m weak I sense more deeply the mighty power of Christ living in me.

10 So I’m not defeated by my weakness, but delighted!  For when I feel my weakness and endure mistreatment—when I’m surrounded with troubles on every side and face persecution because of my love for Christ—I am made yet stronger. For my weakness becomes a portal to God’s power.

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

1.  God’s power will NOT flow freely through you when YOU are in the way.  

In 2 Corinthians 12:10, Paul said, “So I’m not defeated by my weakness, but delighted!”  Another translation says that Paul took “pleasure” in the pain he faced because the power of God was flowing through him the entire time, enabling him to withstand and overcome every challenge.  However, many Christians today fail to experience this power because there is too much of “them” in the way.

— There is a human side to you and a divine side to you.  You have power within your humanity; this is human power.  You have supernatural power residing down inside of you in your divinity; this is God’s power.  If you want God’s power (His grace) to flow through, you must yield to Him.  He will not force Himself upon you.

— God has placed His Spirit down inside of you so that you would have access to His supernatural power and wisdom.  You can choose to operate independently without God, and if you do, He will stand by and watch you stumble your way through life.  Or you can get out of the way, die to self, and allow God to flow through you.  

— You will never experience the fulness of God’s grace until you GET OUT OF THE WAY!

— If you want to withstand and overcome anything, you must learn to die to self, rely on God’s grace, and become a human conduit of the divine.  If you do, you will find that you may even enjoy challenges.  Because while you are facing them, the power of God flows through you in a way where God is glorifying and you are made stronger through the experience.  

2.  When your power runs out, God’s power can take over and enable you to overcome challenges!

— As humans, we often don’t call for or rely on God’s grace until we get to the end of ourselves.  We shouldn’t wait until it gets that far, but we often do.  

— Whether we wait until we are exhausted because we attempted to do it on our own, or we called on God right up front, the point is that God’s power will kick in when we acknowledge that our power is not enough. 

— When you decrease and die to self, you will see God’s power increase and manifest in your life.

— In 2 Corinthians 4, Paul talks about how the “death of Jesus” is at work in our own bodies, and how this is so the “life of Jesus” can be revealed through our humanity.  He explained that when “death is at work… it releases life in you.”  David said it this way, “I am glad I was afflicted.”  David was saying, “Had I not been afflicted, had I not faced the challenges I faced, I would not know God the way that I do.”

— When you get to heaven, if you have a conversation with Joseph, I am sure He will say something similar.  Joseph learned some things about God in the PIT, POTIPHAR, and PRISON phases of his life that prepared him for the PALACE phase.  If Joseph had not been through the pain, he would not have been ready for the palace, because he learned to rely on God through the pain.

— At first, Paul wanted his thorn in the flesh to be removed.  But when God explained to Paul that His grace could only flow through Paul’s weakness, Paul fully embraced the challenges.  He took pleasure in the pain.  He delighted himself in the distresses.  Because during these times, when his human power was clearly NOT good enough, the power of God was able to flow through him unhindered because he got out of the way.

— I am not glorifying challenges.  I hope you learn to die to self without pain.  But what I am saying in this: You cannot just know God from a book.  If your relationship with God does not spill over into real life, then you are religious and may not even know God.  You truly get to know God through real-life challenges.

— When you die to self you let your superpowers out!

3.  Get excited when you are facing something that FORCES you to rely on God’s strength.

Paul said that he took pleasure in pain, and David said he was glad that he was afflicted because they understood the following.

You should get excited when you are facing something you know you can’t do, but you also know God is leading you in it.  I get excited in these situations because I know three things:

a)  I can’t do this on my own, and I don’t need to.

b)  God will do what I can’t do through me.

c)  Since everyone will know it was not me, God will get the glory!  This will be a great testimony of God’s grace on and through my life.

That’s enough for today.

I hope this message helps you change your perspective of challenges.

Declaration of Faith:  

Father, this is a season of LEVELING UP for me.  I LEVEL UP by embracing the power of Your Spirit.  I die to self daily.  I refuse to rely on the arm of the flesh.  I refuse to live as a mere man.  I know I am not good enough, smart enough, or strong enough to do what You have called me to do IN MY OWN HUMANITY.  However, I don’t need to.  You live IN me.  I yield to You in all things and at all times.  I give myself over to You daily.  You live through me.  You enable me to do what I could never do without You.  As you do, I withstand and overcome things that I know would have destroyed me if I did not have You.  As a result, You get the glory from my life.  So I take pleasure in whatever pain I have to go through in order for You to do what You called me to do, through me, for Your glory!  I am dead to self and live to Christ.  Therefore, 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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