July 22, 2023
- By Ed Powell
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"We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body." 2 Corinthians 4:8-10
It is not uncommon to hear, "If I could only be like so-and-so, I could be a much stronger Christian. Or, "If only my circumstances were different, I could have a much better attitude toward life." Or, "If I could just move to another location, I would be a different person." When we look at Paul's life, we quickly realize he did not have the luxury of changing any of his circumstances for his benefit. He experienced all of these things, only to find that he was in greater straits than he was before.
The five pictures here illustrate Paul's succession of difficulty, but they also reveal the contrasting victory he had, because his life was "hid in Christ."
--Enemies on every side, yelling, pushing, shoving, pressing, demanding Paul to respond, yet not crushing him. We are crowded in every way, but not distressed. "In all these things, we are more than conquerors." He is my VICTORY.
--His way seems closed in, yet he has passed through; there is just enough light for the next step. We are without a way, but not without a by-way. God makes a way when there is no way. He is my WAY.
--Hotly pursued and without hope, as God stands by and he is not alone. We are pursued by the enemy, but are not abandoned. He is my constant COMPANION.
--Overtaken, beaten, and knocked down, but not with a fatal blow, he is able to rise again. We may be overthrown by the foe, but not overcome. "When I am weak, then am I strong." He is my SUFFICIENCY.
--The enemy advances and death itself seems to be ready to take hold, but he does not die. The life of the Lord Jesus now comes to his aid and "he lives in the life of Another" until his life's work is done. "For me to live is Christ." He is my LIFE.
Our "times are in His hand." He is in control of our lives when we are committed to Him. In His way and in His time, "all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." We are not here today to wish we were "somewhere else" or to be "someone we are not," but to be where we are and as we are, to do what He has called us to do for Him, by His enabling presence, power, and sufficiency.
David said, "Cause me to hear, cause me to know. Teach me to do thy will, O Lord." It is of great importance HOW WE LIVE in the days entrusted to us. It is the strength, rather than the length of a man's life that counts for God. The Lord has made you "as you are" and placed you "where you are" to be used in "His way" as no one else! Do not lose out on what God wants to do in and through your life, exactly where God has placed you as the specific person you are. It isn't who you are or where you are, but WHO HE IS and the impact He can have through you! Turn your life over to HIS AUTHORITY AND LORDSHIP!
© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.
This page was reprinted by permission from: http://www.litmin.org/dare.php?date=2023-07-22
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