We Can Withstand and Overcome Anything (Part 48) – Joy vs. Happiness Part 2

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.

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

1.  Our goal is to be spirit-led in all things at all times.  

(Romans 8:13,14 NKJV)

For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 

In Romans 8, the Apostle Paul contrasts living by the flesh (or living as a mere human) with living led by the Holy Spirit (which is how Jesus lived).  He explained that living by the flesh leads to death.  But if you put the works of your flesh to death and you allow the Holy Spirit to guide you, this leads to life.  Paul calls those who are led of the Holy Spirit “sons.”  The Greek word used for “sons” here is: huios.  

Now let’s look at what Paul said in his letter to the believers in Galatia.

(Gal 5:16-18 NKJV)

I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.  For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

In this letter, Paul went to great lengths to describe the works of the flesh (sin) and the fruit of the Holy Spirit.  He once again contrasts the works of the flesh with the works of the Spirit and boldly declares that if we walk in Spirit, being led by the Holy Spirit in all things, we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.  In other words, if you are led by the Holy Spirit, you will be empowered to resist and refrain from sin.

— John 1:12 tells us that those who received Jesus were given the power to become the children of God.  The word translated “children” in John 1:12 is a word that gives us the picture of a young child.  When you are Born-Again, you are a child of God, but you are a baby-Christian.  The Word translated “sons” in Romans 8:14 is a word that still gives the connotation of the father-son relationship, but this time it is more of a pupil or apprentice.  When are first Born-Again you have a relationship with God, and you are His child, but you don’t know how to live like who you are.  You have the Holy Spirit living inside of you, but you don’t know how to hear His voice.  Once you start to learn His voice and allow yourself to be LED by the Holy Spirit, you can live your life the way Jesus lived His.  You can graduate from being a little baby to a full-grown son who performs His Father’s will on this planet.

— Every Born-Again believer is a child of God (John 1), but you graduate from the child stage to the son stage (Romans 8 and Galatians 5) when you learn to be led by the Spirit of God.

— As you develop your relationship with the Father, directly, through the His Spirit, you will learn to respond to the divine impulses God initiates in your heart.  It is through these impulses that the Holy Spirit guides you down the path to your destiny.

— Once you are Born-Again God’s Spirit is living inside of you.  But you don’t know how to hear of His voice or tap into His power.  So you can either continue to live the way you have been living, which will make you a carnal Christian.  Or you can make an effort to develop your relationship with God through His Spirit, so you can allow Him to lead you as you walk through life.  This is the only way you will become the man/woman you are called to be.  This is the only way you will leave the mark in this world you were born to leave.  This is how Jesus lived.  The question for you now is: will you continue to walk in the flesh, or will you put forth the effort to learn to be LED of the Holy Spirit?

2.  Living spirit-led vs. living focused on the pursuit of happiness.

I took my time making the first point (about being led by the Holy Spirit), so I can now contrast that with living like everyone else on this planet.  Most humans just want to be happy.  This is why the statement “the pursuit of happiness,” is so powerful in the United States.  It is part of our Declaration of Independence.  It’s interesting to me that “the pursuit of happiness” and a “Declaration of Independence” are linked.  The link is logical.  Most people see the goal of adulthood as being completely independent.  You want to make your own money, live your own life, and make your own decisions.  Many who live this way will tell you that they are experiencing their own “pursuit of happiness.”  However, once you are Born-Again, the Bible and the Holy Spirit will lead you towards a life of total dependence and reliance on God.  You go from being your own man/woman, making your own decisions, and being the ruler of your own life, to seeking God for wisdom, guidance, and direction in all things.

— The Bible is clear that without God, we can do NOTHING.  Now, with Him, we can do all things.  But without Him, we are not supposed to do anything.

— I gave my life to Jesus at the age of 23.  I had just gotten to the point where I felt totally independent, and I was then Born-Again.  Once Born-Again, I had to learn how to NOT rely on myself anymore and how to lean on God and His Spirit for all things.  That was not an easy transition.  I made more mistakes than I want to remember.  I operated in the flesh more times than I want to admit.  But over time I learned to discern the voice of the Holy Spirit and now I seek to be led of Him in all things, at all times.

— To be clear, you can be filled with the Holy Spirit and NOT listen to Him.  You can be Born-Again and still live as a mere human, being completely carnal every day.  This should not be your goal, but the truth is that many Christians live this way.

— There are Christians who are Born-Again but still just live their lives in “the pursuit of happiness.”  They just want to be happy, and they will do whatever it takes to feel content.  The problem with this is something I shared with you yesterday.  My Pastor, Tony Brazelton, said, “To be happy, things have to be right, go right, and stay right.”  In yesterday’s message, I said that people who are chasing happiness are always “seeking to manipulate/orchestrate their circumstances to align in such a way that produces happiness for them.  But the truth is, many Christians who live this way are always moving, shifting, and chasing things because they are living like mere humans.”  The alternative is to be led by the Holy Spirit in all things.

— To be clear, the Holy Spirit will often lead you to do things that will not make you happy.  He will guide you into circumstances and situations that are unpleasant, challenging, difficult, and even painful.  You can make the argument that the Apostle Paul had it all before he gave his life to Christ.  He was being groomed by the best of the best within the Jewish religious elite.  He had backing, funding, and lots of support from the religious system of his day.  And he gave all of that up to be led by the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit led him into situations where he ended up in jail; he was flogged multiple times, he was beaten with sticks, stoned with rocks, and shipwrecked three times.  If he just wanted to be happy, he could not have gone home and relaxed.  But had he done so, he would not be having an impact over 2,000 years later.  His impact and legacy are amazing because he chose to be led by the Holy Spirit, even when it robbed him of his comfort.  Think about that the next time you choose comfort over purpose.

That’s enough for today.  Tomorrow I will flow in this same vein.   

Declaration of Faith:  

Father, this is a season of LEVELING UP for me!  I LEVEL UP by allowing the Holy Spirit to lead me in all things at all times.  I am Born-Again.  Your Spirit lives IN me.  You are a Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is my direct connection to You.  Through Holy Spirit, I can discern Your voice and Your will.  Through Holy Spirit, I discover myself, I receive the revelation of my purpose, and I tap into the grace to perform it on the earth before I die.  Through Holy Spirit, I am led to abstain from sin and even the very appearance of evil.  Your Spirit guides me down the path to my purpose, and I pursue that path, even when I experience obstacles, challenges, opposition, and pain along the way.  I will not quit.  I will never give up.  I choose purpose over pleasure.  I choose my calling over my comfort every day.  Living this way, I can 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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