These are some entries written in one man’s “journal.” They may sound like yours.
I’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles…
I’m not sure what to do…
I’ve been spiritually terrorized…
I’ve been thrown down…
Even if you don’t write in a journal you’ve probably said similar things to yourself. Maybe even out loud. We’ve all felt the heat of circumstances beyond our control. Some of us wither under the heat. Some of us react in hurtful ways—towards others, towards ourselves, towards God. And some of us come through it glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. What makes the difference?
The Apostle Paul wrote those “journal entries” above. You can find them in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (The Message). But he, in today’s jargon, did not put a period where God had put a comma. If you look in your Bible you will see that each of the above entries (even if worded differently) is followed by a comma.
We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed.
We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.
We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God.
We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. (NLT)
Do you ever wish you could live this way in the face of difficult circumstances? Well, you can. I can!
The Gospel changed Paul from a self-serving, egotistical man who would fight anyone or anything in the way of his goals, to a man who would lay it all down for Christ Jesus. Paul wrote:
- My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. – Galatians 2:2
- I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with Him. – Philippians 3:8-9
- This is the secret: Christ lives in you – Colossians 1:27
- He [Christ] died for everyone so that those who receive His new life will not longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. – 2 Corinthians 5:15
This is the difference the cross can make in our lives!
If I continue to live for me, myself, and I, life will be a —, a minus (see James 3:14-16; 4:1-2). But because of what Christ has done on the cross, power from Heaven is in me! If I allow it to flow, life becomes a +, a plus (see James 3:17-18). God is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplishment “infinitely more than we might ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).
When you’re feeling the heat beat you down, don’t put a period where God wants a comma. Look to the cross and let the power flow. Oh my goodness! The difference it can make!