We Can Withstand and Overcome Anything (Part 32) – Walking With God Is Inconvenient

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.  Here are a few more scriptures to look at before we get into the meat of the message.

(2 Corinthians 12:10 TPT)
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.

(Eph 2:10 ERV)

God has made us what we are.  In Christ Jesus, God made us new people so that we would spend our lives doing the good things he had already planned for us to do.

(Mark 8:34,35 ERV)

Any of you who want to be my follower must stop thinking about yourself and what you want.  You must be willing to carry the cross that is given to you for following me.  Any of you who try to save the life you have will lose it.  But you who give up your life for me and for the Good News will save it.

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

1.  Jesus made it plain when He said youmust stop thinking about yourself and what you want.”

— When Jesus was speaking to a crowd of His followers He already knew what Paul would later write in Ephesians 2:10.  Jesus knew that He and the Father already had plans for each and every person He was looking at.  This is why Jesus could confidently look out at a crowd and say, “Any of you who want to be my follower must stop thinking about yourself and what you want.”  Jesus knew His plans for their lives were much greater than anything they could come up with on their own.  He knew the people He was looking at were already destined.  They were already called to greatness.  Their path to victory was already mapped out.  But Jesus also knew that in order for them to RECEIVE the victory God had already prepared, they would have to DIE.  They had to die to self and selfishness.  They had to give their lives as a sacrifice in order to receive true life – the life God planned for them to live.  Guess what?  What was true that day, while Jesus was speaking to the crowd, is true this day as I am speaking to you!

Long before you were born, God planned your final outcome and the path to it.  Your life is not a mistake.  However, to experience the life God planned, you must first have a relationship with the planner and then be willing to die to the plans you came up with without Him.

— God is not looking for you to work for or earn His plan.  His plan for your life is already mapped out.  He called you by grace, not by merit.  God is simply looking for you to believe His goodness, receive what He wants to do in your life by faith, and then DIE to self so you don’t mess it up!

— Religion puts the spotlight on man, and it requires things of man.  Under a religious mindset, a human works hard to earn God’s approval.  This is why God hates religion.  God does not want you to spend the rest of your life working for His approval.  Jesus already earned your approval.  Once you are in Christ and Christ is in you, you are already approved.

2.  God wants you to DIE to your plans so that you can rest in His plans for your life.

— God wants you to get to the point where you realize your life is SO MUCH about Jesus and NOT about you, that you finally REST in His finished work.

— The Father does not want you working hard to become someone in Him.  You are already are someone in Him.  He just wants you to believe what He believes about you!

— When God looks at you, He sees you the way He called you.  Now He wants you to get to the point where you see it too!  Not based on your works, but based on Jesus’ works.  Not based on your goodness, but on His!

— God does not want you entering every day attempting to work to earn His approval.  The Father wants you to enter every day FROM the position of His approval.  There is a big difference! 

— Stop striving to perform.  God is not looking for your performance.  This is why your life is not about you at all.  God is looking for your death, so He is free to LIVE through you!

— The Father does not want you to live your life striving to MAKE things happen.  He wants you to simply discern what He has already done.  Once you do, you then get to walk in His finished work.  If you think you can MAKE it happen without God, then you have made Jesus irrelevant.  He does not want to be irrelevant in your life.  He actually wants to be the star of your life’s story.  When people read the book of your life, Jesus wants to be the star on every page!  

3.  Living the life of faith in earnest is inconvenient.

For Jesus to be seen in you and for your life to become a PORTAL of God’s power on this planet, your life can no longer be about you and your selfish desires.  Your life has to be about Jesus and the plans He made for you before the world began.  Here are a few problems with the statement I just made: 

a)  We were born ignorant of the plans God made for us before the world began.

b)  The Bible says, “God made us new people so that we would spend our lives doing the good things he had already planned for us to do,” but we can’t do those “good things” if we don’t know what they are.

c)  In the absence of divine revelation concerning the plans of God for our lives, we came up with plans on our own.  We developed our own dreams for life and we came to God already having a “picture” of what we wanted to do with our lives.

d)  When Jesus said, “Any of you who want to be my follower must stop thinking about yourself and what you want,” He was talking to people who had no clue what He was truly asking of them.  He was asking them (and us) to DIE TO SELF so our lives can become a PORTAL to God’s power on this planet.  

— Most humans don’t want to die to themselves.  It is counter to the way we were raised.

— Most humans were raised to be independent.  Our parents told us to learn how to be totally independent.  Our parents told us that we had to get to the point where we were self-sufficient and not reliant on anyone for anything.

— I gave my life to Christ at the age of 23.  I was a young Staff Sergeant in the United States Army at the time and a young father.  I was finally at the place in my life where I thought I was self-sufficient.  I was independent, making my own money and making my own decisions.  But then I gave my life to Christ, and the Bible I was reading was telling me that I had to learn to be TOTALLY reliant on Jesus.  I had just gotten to the point in my life where I thought I was truly independent, and then the Bible was telling me NOT to rely on myself anymore.  The Bible was teaching me that I had to TOTALLY rely on God for everything!  I am proud of my young self, because I was willing to give up anything the Holy Spirit led me to give up, but most young Christians around me were not as “radical” as I was.  They were okay with going to church, but they did not want Jesus to “interrupt” their lifestyle.  I was different.  I ONLY wanted what Jesus wanted for me.  I was willing to change everything.  I actually wanted my mind to be renewed.  I wanted a new mind.  I wanted a new way of thinking.  I wanted a new life, but not everyone around me wanted that.  Guess what?  26 years later, I am still living the same way, and I still run into people who are okay with going to church, just as long as God does not “inconvenience” their lifestyle.       

— When you are independent or when you are given the autonomy to lead or rule over something, you have the ability to make the decisions.  Since you have the final call, you don’t have to check with anyone.  Many of us like those scenarios.  That may be okay at work.  But in life, God has not given you that autonomy.  God has not left you completely in charge.  God gave you His Spirit so you could check with Him directly and find out if what you want to do is OKAY with Him.  He wants you to check to make sure that what you want to do ALIGNS with what He already planned.  The problem with most Christians is that they don’t want to have to CHECK with God first.  They would rather make their own decisions and then ask God to bless what they decide.  This is NOT the life of faith.  This is NOT how Jesus lived.  It may be inconvenient, but God wants you to be led by His Spirit in all things.

I have more to say about this.  But I will stop here for today.

That’s enough for today.

Declaration of Faith:  

Father, this is a season of LEVELING UP for me.  I LEVEL UP by embracing the power of Your Spirit.  Thank You for helping me see things differently.  My life is no longer about me or my selfish desires. I refuse to rely on the arm of the flesh.  I die to self daily.  My life is all about You and Your desires for me.  I am not working FOR grace.  I am working BY grace.  I am not striving FOR Your approval.  I enter every day knowing I am already approved.  I am Your child.  I am called for such a time as this.  This is my season.  This is my time.  I am no longer the star of my life’s story.  And since I glorify THEE Father, You are can now glorify ME!  I am committed to making You famous, and because I am, You are committed to making my name great!  My life is ALL ABOUT YOU!  Which is why I know 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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