Friday, September 01, 2006

Pressed, Persecuted and Perplexed

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

Have you ever felt that way? It can be easy to get wrapped up in our circumstances. Sometimes it’s just the day to day stuff that gets pressed against a perplexing event. I’ve read the verses above to be reminded that nothing can destroy me because of God.

But today I read more in this section of scripture. Verse 10 says “We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.”

Do you see it? Verses 8 and 9 are not talking about unusual circumstances. Paul seems to be saying “look, this is the way it is or at least it should be.”

Do I always carry around in my body the death of Jesus? Uh, I don’t think so. It is those times when I feel pressed, perplexed, persecuted or struck down by stuff in this world that I cry out to Jesus, “Lord, help me here.”

It has been said that a person’s true character is revealed under pressure. What I heard from God today is that he expects His character to be revealed every day of my life.

Jesus was born in a barn. His family fled to a foreign country to avoid those seeking to kill him even as an infant. We don’t know much about his childhood but we do know that every day for about 3 ½ years he was pressed on every side and persecuted by those with great influence and authority. There are indications that he was perplexed by the disbelief and the actions of mankind. And, he eventually was struck down but certainly not destroyed.

I whimper over a few days, maybe a few weeks of tough circumstances that often have no eternal value and are completely about comfort in this life.

I want to offer my body to Christ every moment of the day. I hesitate to type this next thought. Do I really mean it? I want to be hard pressed, perplexed, persecuted and struck down so that the life of Jesus may be revealed in my body.

Why would I say such a crazy thing? Because I don’t want anyone to be confused about God’s incomparable power. There are many good causes to suffer for in this world. Christ didn’t suffer for what is seen. He suffered so that we could experience the unseen.

What’s pressing on you today?

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the mission:
PROCLAIM the good news; HEAL the sick and oppressed; BRING JUSTICE
~ Luke 4:16-20

Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing (John 14:12)
~ Jesus 

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