We Can Withstand and Overcome Anything (Part 34) – Dealing with the Pressures of this World

by Rick

Note:  Before I get into the message, I need you to know that Isabella and I are going out of the country tomorrow and after praying about it, I am going to take some time with her and with God.  This will be the only message I share this week.  Please pray for me as I seek to spend time with God this week.

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 the last one. Let’s also take a look at this verse.

(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.

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

1.  Paul understood the pressures of this world more than most, so he relied on the Holy Spirit to get him through it all.

Paul preached the gospel during a time when anyone who did so put their own lives at risk.  Paul understood the dangers well because he led the movement against the cause of Christ for years.  So when God led Paul to switch sides, Paul knew, from firsthand knowledge, what he was getting into.  Paul knew the dangers, but he did it anyway, and he did it by the power of God’s Spirit.

Paul went on four missionary journies, helped start churches, served as a Pastor to Pastors, and wrote half the New Testament along the way, even while he was in and out of jail and facing tremendous persecution.  So how did Paul get it done?  He relied on God and His Spirit.  He knew that his weakness was a portal to God’s power.

— If you want your life to exceed the limits of your humanity, you must learn to rely on the divinity God has given you.

— God gave you His Spirit.  The Holy Spirit lives in you (if you are Born-Again).  If you ever get to the point where your life is about God, and you are led by God’s Spirit in all things, your life will far exceed anything you ever dreamed, because your life will be about God and Him living through you.

— God knows how hard this world can be.  God also knows the limits of your humanity.  This is why He gave you His Spirit.  If you embrace your weaknesses and yield to God’s Spirit, your weakness will become a portal to God’s power, and, like Paul, you will leave a mark in this world that will outlive you.

2.  God understands how difficult this world can be.

Paul talks about facing and overcoming every kind of pressure.  The Holy Spirit led Paul to write that because God understands what you are going through.  He is not oblivious to your challenges or pain. 

— One of the reasons why Jesus came as a human was so that He could understand our humanity.  The writer of Hebrews tells us that we do not serve a God who does understand that humanity.  He actually came as a man.

— Jesus left heaven and came to the earth, in a flesh and blood body so that He could understand (firsthand) the limits of our humanity.

— Jesus understands the challenges we face.  He got to live the “human experience.”  He knows what it is like to feel anxiety.  He felt the effects of stress on the human body and soul.  Jesus is able to understand us on another level.

— Jesus endured and overcame everything because He did not rely on His flesh.  He relied on the Holy Spirit living inside of Him.  We can and should do the same.

— I have told you many times that Jesus is not just an example FOR us, but he is an example OF us.  What made Jesus powerful was that while He was living inside of a body, He chose not to be limited to His body.  He knew that the Holy Spirit was living inside of Him, and if He chose “spirit over body,” His human weakness would become a portal to God’s power!  This is how we are supposed to live.

— There is a human side to us and the spiritual side to us.  Our soul is in the middle.  In our soul, we get to decide which input we will listen to, rely on, and respond to.  

— We live in a world with real challenges.  This world produces real stress.  Sometimes it gets so bad that even Christians commit suicide.  Mental health is a real challenge for many people, including Christians.  Paul’s teachings show us that we can live a victorious life, even in the middle of tremendous opposition.  We can do this by the power of the Holy Spirit.  We can do this by NOT relying on the arm of flesh.

— We have an outward man that is gradually wearing out.  But we have an inner man that can be renewed every single day.  If you rely on the Holy Spirit, despite your human weaknesses, then your weakness will become a portal to God’s power.

I feel led to pray for you this morning before I lead you in a declaration of faith.  So here is my prayer and then the declaration.

My prayer for you this morning:

Father, I lift up the person reading this right now.  I know You love them.  I am not sure if they know it.  I pray that You would manifest Your presence in this moment in their lives.  Help them to feel Your love.  I pray that Your peace will overtake them and fill their hearts in this moment.  Reveal Yourself to them today, Father, so they can know they are loved.  I come up against distressing anxiety.  I pray for peace in their hearts, joy in the spirits, and hope in their minds as they enter this day.  May they see themselves the way You see them.  May they believe what You believe about them.  And may You use them today, for Your glory, in a way that will change them forever.  I pray this by faith.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Declaration of Faith:  

Father, this is a season of LEVELING UP for me.  I LEVEL UP by walking and living by faith.  I thank you for giving me Your Spirit the moment I was Born-Again.  Now Your Holy Spirit lives in me.  He speaks to me daily.  He gives me dreams while I am sleeping and open visions while I am awake.  He empowers me to do what I could never do without Him.  He teaches me to rely on Him, even when my humanity fails.  When I am weak, I am made strong.  My weakness is a portal to Your power.  I yield to You in all things.  You live through me in every way.  There is nothing I can’t do because You live in me.  This is why I boldly declare: 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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