Monday, March 29, 2010

Show your “but” to the devil!


2 Corinthians 4:7-9 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (8) We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; (9) persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.


The supremely valuable message of salvation in Jesus Christ has been entrusted by God to frail and fallible human beings. Paul's focus, however, was not on the perishable container but on its priceless contents-God's power dwelling in us. Though we are "fragile, clay jars," God uses us to spread his Good News, and he gives us power to do his work. Knowing that the power is his, not ours, should keep us from pride and motivate us to keep daily contact with God, our power source. Our responsibility is to let people see God through us.

Paul reminds us that though we may think we are at the end of our rope, we are never at the end of our hope. Our perishable bodies are subject to sin and suffering, but God never abandons us. Because Christ has won the victory over death, we have eternal life. All our risks, humiliations, and trials are opportunities for Christ to demonstrate his power and presence in and through us. We must ask ourselves, "Could I handle the suffering and opposition that Paul did?" The success syndrome is a great enemy of effective ministry. From an earthly perspective, Paul was not very successful. Like Paul, we must carry out our ministry, looking to God for strength. When opposition, slander, or disappointment threaten to rob you of the victory, remember that no one can destroy what God has accomplished through you.


As a child of God, we will have some struggles and battles. It is through the trials that our faith is either validated and strengthened or destroyed. In our text, Paul admits that at times we face difficult situations. In fact he said that we would be:

Hard pressed on every side. This means stressed out, distressed, and experience great pressure.

Perplexed, which means without resources, doubt, not know which way to turn, and not know how to decide what to do.

Persecuted, which means to make run or flee, to drive away. To be filled with fear, harassed, troubled, molested by the enemy.

Struck down, which means to be thrown to the ground, knocked over, taken to a lower place, brought down. Made to feel like a failure.

My friend, that is a pretty devastating list of troubles and struggles. If that were all that was written in our text, I would probably just quit. BUT...that's not all the Word says. For each of these difficult times, God has given us a BUT!

I have come to you today with a Word from the Spirit of God. It is time to remind the devil of your BUT. It is past time to show your BUT to the devil. He is defeated, he is NOT more than a conqueror. He is NOT all knowing. He is NOT all powerful. He is a fallen angel, and his best weapon is deception and lies. He will try to deceive you into believing that when you are hard pressed, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down that there is no hope. But let's look at the rest of the story.

Yes, I may be hard pressed on every side today...BUT I am not CRUSHED! Remind your enemy of your BUT right now!

I am absolutely perplexed right now...BUT I am NOT in DESPAIR!

It is a fact that I am persecuted right now...BUT I am NOT ABANDONED!

I may be struck down and discouraged...BUT I am NOT DESTROYED!

I am a child of the King, and He is fighting for me! My friend, show your BUT to the devil right now as you read this! This is YOUR DAY of victory!


"Lord, I am facing some difficult situations today. The devil has been speaking to me, trying to convince me that I am defeated. Yes I am facing pressure, yes I am perplexed about a few things, yes I feel like running away, and yes I have been struck down at times. I was warned by you Jesus, that this would happen. You told me that in this world I would face tribulations and trials. Thank you Holy Spirit for reminding me that I need to show my BUT to the devil. I may be hard pressed, but thank God I am not crushed. I may be perplexed, but I am not in despair. I may be tempted to run away and hide, BUT I am not abandoned. I may be down, BUT I am not destroyed. Thank you Jesus for your Word, Your Spirit, and the "but"s" in Your Word. In Jesus' name, amen!"


Anonymous said...

A word in season. Thank you.