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. You are going to have to “catch yourself” from time to time.
If your singular focus in life is to be happy, and you live your life every day in “the pursuit of happiness,” then you will find yourself busy attempting to manipulate, orchestrate, and align people and circumstances in a way that supports the happiness you pursue. I have been thinking about this quite a bit since this past Sunday when I heard my Pastor, Tony Brazelton, say, “To be happy, things have to be right, go right, and stay right.” If things on the outside have to be “good” for you to be “good” on the inside, then your life will never be stable.
— External circumstances and conditions change all the time. Not only that, but people change. Those closest to you today may not be there for you in the future. So if your internal state is contingent upon external conditions and the attitudes of people you cannot control, your life will be a constant roller-coaster because you will never be able to control everything that goes on external to you.
— One of the major benefits of living your life based on God’s joy and not the world’s happiness is that JOY is a constant. The world may change. We may experience a surprise like a global pandemic or a global economic downturn that no one was expecting, but you can still have JOY. People may change. People who love you today may not want anything to do with you tomorrow. When conditions and people change in a negative way in your life, it’s understandable if you “feel” the effects of it. While you are both human and divine, the human side of you will be sad from time to time. You won’t like everything that happens to you. You won’t like it when conditions or people shift on you in ways you did not want. But through it all, the JOY of the Lord can be your strength.
— For you to withstand and overcome anything, you will have to learn to tap into the power of God’s JOY, especially when conditions don’t lend themselves to your happiness.
— We are getting to the end of the year. While God’s work is not tied to calendar years, as humans, we often tie our planning to them. Calendar years give up increments of time to measure our progress against. Last week, as I thought about the end of the year and how 2022 will be here soon, I started to take self-inventory. While I am tremendously blessed and very grateful to God for my life, the life of Isabella, and the lives of our children, I, like most, have things that I have been believing God for, for years, that have not happened yet. I have told you many times that frustration sets in when your watch of expectation is not in sync with God’s clock of manifestation. The truth is, many times, we get frustrated when we have an artificial timeline in our hearts or minds that God never gave us. When the expected date of manifestation comes and goes, we “feel” sad that whatever “it” is, is not happening for us on the timeline we expected. So there I was last week, feeling down over a few things that are either not going the way I want or have not happened yet when I “feel” like they should have happened for me by now. I am human like everyone else. I let my humanity get the best of me for a short period of time. I had to “catch myself.” I was feeling down. I was feeling low. I was not feeling like myself. I was allowing external conditions to impact my internal state. Now, to be clear, this only happened for like a day and a half. Halfway into Day 2, I caught myself; I started to remind myself of all the things God is doing in my life and all the things He has spoken to me. I allowed the Holy Spirit to minister to me. He reminded me of all the things He has spoken that have not come to pass, and He assured me that they will, BEFORE I DIE! After spending time with the Holy Spirit, I got my JOY back! Praise God!
— I just shared with you how I allowed myself to focus way too much on external conditions and circumstances. Part of it, honestly, was also tied to people, and how some people who were very close to me in the past have chosen to go in different directions. When I meditated on that stuff, I felt bad. But I had to catch myself. I had to come to myself. Thankfully, for me, it only took a day and a half. I know people who allow negative thoughts to run rampant in their hearts and minds for days, weeks, months, and even years. These people lose their JOY. These people become angry and bitter. These people allow what happened to them to change them on the inside, and if they don’t correct it, this change (bad change) will last forever.
— The truth is that things will not always turn out the way you want. People will not always be there for you the way they say they will. People change. Conditions change—Circustmaces change. But if you remain connected to the Holy Spirit, He will feed you a constant diet of God’s JOY, and the JOY OF THE LORD will be your strength through it all. This is how you can withstand and overcome anything!
2. When you develop God’s perspective of challenges, you realize that oftentimes what is happening TO you is actually happening FOR you.
I will keep this second point brief. Here are a few quick thoughts on this.
— God has to prepare you to carry the weight of the anointing associated with the assignment.
— God often allows things to change around you in order to PUSH you into your destiny. Because if He did not allow the conditions to change, you would stay where you are.
— You cannot become the man/woman God has called you to be if you are more focused on your comfort than your calling.
— There are some things God wants to do in our lives that will require some changes to take place first. You must be willing to embrace the changes when they come.
— For God to SHIFT you into what He has NEXT for you, you must pass the tests that are required for you to pass in this season. Once you pass the tests, get ready; GREATER IS COMING FOR YOU!
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 spend time with the Holy Spirit daily. In a world that is always changing, the Holy Spirit is my constant. Conditions may change, and people may change, but You remain the same. My heart is SET on you. My time is spent with You. I have JOY and PEACE on the inside, no matter what is going on, on the outside. Living this way, I will pass the tests of each season, and I will open my heart to what You have next. 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.