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.
I only have a couple of weeks to close out this year. I will teach this week and next and then take my Christmas break starting the week of December 20th.
This week I will close out this series, and next week I will close us out for the year. That said, let’s get into it. Let’s seek to glean a few things under the topic, “Faith is fueled by joy!”
So what does this mean to you today? A few things.
1. You can have JOY, even when you don’t have any control.
Part of living by faith is acknowledging that there is a God and you are not Him.
— When you live by faith, you accept the fact that God made plans for you before the world began, and your life is about submission to and alignment with those plans.
— When you live by faith, you know you are not in control of your life. Jesus is your Lord. Jesus is either Lord of all, or He is not Lord at all. So when you say He is your Lord, it means He is in charge of your life, and you are submitted to Him in all ways, at all times.
— When you live by faith, you realize that you cannot control the outcome of every situation. You have to trust God for the outcome because He is the Lord of your life.
— God never created you, as a believer, to control outcomes. God’s expectation is for you to believe Him, even when He has not revealed the outcome yet. He is looking for you to trust Him, even when you don’t know what He is doing.
— God is God. He is your Lord. He controls outcomes. When you are submitted to Him, you have to learn to maintain your joy, even when the outcome of a situation is not the outcome you wanted or expected.
— Remember, to maintain happiness, things need to be right, go right, and stay right. This is why happiness is fleeting. The pursuit of happiness should not be your goal. JOY is greater than happiness.
— If you think you control the outcome, you are going to get frustrated because you will be trying to control things you cannot control, things God never created you to control.
— While there is a certain level of spiritual authority that God expects you to operate in on the earth, just know that you will only be able to exercise authority to the level that God has spoken to you about something. If God remains silent over something, it is because He is in control of that area, and He will only speak to you about it when He needs you to do something. Until then, you must be at peace with the fact that God will not tell you everything. There is a certain level of mystery associated with walking with God, and you will not live by faith effectively until you are comfortable with the discomfort of knowing that God will not tell you everything.
— There are many things you cannot control, nor will you ever be able to control them. But what you can control in your internal state. This is where JOY comes in. You get liberated when you know you cannot control the outcome, and you enter into God’s rest concerning it.
— Good or bad, positive or negative, when you know your life is in God’s hands, and you know His favor is going before you, then whether the situation turns out the way you wanted or not, you can still have JOY.
— Even when you have no control, the JOY OF THE LOD can be your strength!
— JOY comes from the Holy Spirit, and it has NOTHING to do with circumstances!
— I go through pain like everyone else, but no one will know it because no matter what I am going through, I always have JOY. You can experience PAIN like everyone else, but JOY will not allow the pain to have YOU!
2. Living by faith means you are living with an expectation of the manifestation of the will of God in your life.
JOY anticipates the manifestation of what God revealed. This means that when God reveals something to you (something that is future to you, but PAST to Him), you live with an expectation of the manifestation of what God said. You know it may not happen right away. You know things may get worse before they get better. But regardless of circumstance, you live with an expectation that cannot be shaken because you have a JOY that is not tied to earthly conditions.
— You live every day knowing that IT COULD HAPPEN AT ANY TIME!
— You get EXCITED in just thinking about what God promised!
— You spend time looking into the FUTURE, and the JOY you get out of it FAR exceeds any PAIN you endure while you wait on God to do what He said.
3. Whatever pain we experience now pales in comparison to the GLORY that will be revealed in, with, and through our lives as we travel down the path to our purpose.
(Romans 8:16-18 KJV)
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
— I RE-joice when I meditate and meditate on what God said, even when my present circumstances don’t line up YET. JOY is about me reminding myself that IT IS ONLY A MATTER OF TIME!
— I RE-joice when I remind myself that the earth has not CAUGHT UP with heaven’s reality yet.
— My current circumstances may not look like what God promised yet, but I am able to RE-joice when I think about what it is GOING TO LOOK LIKE! The Bible says, “We live by what we believe will happen, not by what we can see” (2 Cor 5:7 ERV).
— I RE-joice when I CHOOSE to LOOK NOT at the things which are seen, but instead I CHOOSE to mediate on the things which are UNSEEN. I can do this because I know that what God revealed to me in the unseen HAS TO HAPPEN! God cannot lie! God will never turn His back on me, nor what He promised. If God said it, that settles it. Period! So the UNSEEN is MORE REAL to me than the SEEN. The SEEN is temporary. What I am seeing right now that does not line up with God; these things are subject to change. But the UNSEEN, what God revealed, those things are permanent. They are not subject to change. It is only a matter of time before I receive, IN MY HANDS, what God spoke to me IN MY HEART. So when I choose to live by the UNSEEN over the SEEN, I can RE-joice in the middle of a storm!
— This is how we can be TROUBLED ON EVERY SIDE… and not MOVED! Because we have JOY!
4. Jesus chose to LOOK NOT at the seen. Instead, He got JOY from the UNSEEN.
This is how JESUS endured the CROSS!
(Hebrews 12:2 KJV)
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
(Hebrews 12:2 ERV)
(v.2) We must never stop looking to Jesus. He is the leader of our faith, and he is the one who makes our faith complete. He suffered death on a cross. But he accepted the shame of the cross as if it were nothing because of the joy he could see waiting for him. And now he is sitting at the right side of God’s throne.
— Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the Father.
— Jesus completed His mission.
— His mission was NOT easy.
— He had to endure lots of pain.
— How did He do it?
— He did it by getting JOY from SEEING what was WAITING ON HIM!
— He did it by choosing NOT to be moved what His present circumstances.
— He did it by choosing the UNSEEN over the SEEN!
— You can do what Jesus did. You can GET JOY by thinking about WHAT IS WAITING ON YOU on the other side of your challenge!
— You can GET JOY by thinking about WHAT GOD SAID!
— This series is about withstanding and overcoming anything. But you will be NO STRONGER than your level of JOY!
— It takes NO FAITH to complain! But it takes FAITH to REJOICE!!!
— JOY anticipates the WILL OF GOD! JOY anticipates the manifestation and RE-joices over it!
(Hebrews 12:3 ERV)
Think about Jesus. He patiently endured the angry insults that sinful people were shouting at him. Think about him so that you won’t get discouraged and stop trying.
— Jesus was not just an example FOR us.
— Jesus was an example OF us!
— THINK ABOUT HIM, so you don’t get discouraged!
— THINK ABOUT HIM, so you don’t STOP TRYING!
When you think about Jesus, and how He was not moved by the challenges He endured, you can do the same. As Jesus is, so are you in this world!
Declaration of Faith:
Father, this is a season of LEVELING UP for me! I LEVEL UP by making Your JOY my strength. My faith is fueled by Your JOY! I am able to RE-JOICE in every situation. Things have to be right, go right, and stay right for me to be happy. But I have JOY no matter what is going on outside of me. I have JOY on the inside, and it is not contingent upon what is happening on the outside. Jesus endured the pain of the cross because He looked past the cross and saw what was waiting for Him on the other side. He was able to REJOICE, even in significant pain. As Jesus is, so am I, in this world! In the middle of pain, I still have JOY! I can have trouble on every side, and the trouble will not have me. I rejoice in my Lord always! Your JOY is my strength. Your JOY fuels my faith. This is why I can boldly declare, and believe, that GREATER IS COMING FOR ME! I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
This is Today’s Word! Apply it and Prosper.