It has been a long time since I last posted. So much has happened in my personal life since my last post. Major breakthroughs have happened in my own life as well as my family and church family. Of course, when a breakthrough comes, other battles come with it.
Wait a minute! Am I telling you that when you get a breakthrough, you still have battles? Yes! It comes as a shock, but count it all joy. When the children of Israel crossed over into the promised land in the book of Joshua, they battled giants. Although battles can be scary, what is even scarier is having no battles. If you have no battles, you are not progressing to higher spiritual ground.
Battles and Transformation
Of course, every single second of your life does not have to be a battle, but life does happen. I mentioned transformation in my title. Our battles are meant to bring transformation to us.
According to 2 Corinthians 3:18, we are changed from glory to glory. This glory to glory change involves being changed from battle to battle. The word transformation refers to a complete change that is often miraculous.
Look at the Eagle
The eagle is used as an illustration in the Bible and many sermons. There is a good reason for the analogy of eagles and our walks with God. Eagles are magnificent birds. They do not stay on the ground and scratch around. They soar, and when they do, they soar above most things.
During a storm an eagle will fly higher so he is above it. One transformation that must take place in our lives as Christians is that we must learn to fly above the storms in our lives. Yes, we are human. Yes, we will feel pain, but we do not have to allow the pain and suffering to cause us to drop to a level in which we do not belong. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can fly higher until we are above the storm. The storm, or the circumstance, is still occurring, but we are above it. We can avoid being negatively affected by adverse circumstances.
Is Such Change Possible?
In ourselves, it is impossible to soar above a storm, spiritually speaking. However, with God, all things are possible. When we tap into the power that Christ gave us through the cross and His resurrection, we can do great things. Of course, these accomplishments are not for our glory but to exalt the Lord Jesus Christ.
I have been listening to a Christian neuroscientist as well as studying in God’s word about transforming thoughts. According to what I have gleaned, God’s people have not even begun to tap into the power that God has made available to us by renewing our minds day by day. Until our thinking changes, great transformation will not take place. Romans 12:2 reminds us that we are not transformed by our own goodness or simply trying extra hard. We are transformed by renewing the mind.
In future posts, I will have more to write about this. Until then, pray about your own transformation. Through Jesus Christ, we have been given all we need for life and godliness. We simply need to learn to utilize what we have been given.
Have you ever been around a stubborn person? Perhaps you have obstinate tendencies yourself. I have experienced both. I have been around people who refuse instruction of any type, and I have been that stubborn person. The irony has been that I get so exasperated when dealing with an extremely stubborn person yet I conveniently forget that I can be obstinate in my own right.
Neither scenario is pleasant. Sadly, many people who are stubborn simply cannot see that flaw in themselves yet they can detect it in another person. Human nature can be hypocritical.
Determination and Stubbornness: The Difference
Everyone needs determination to stand steadfast and avoid deceit from the enemy. Determination and stubbornness are different although the line can be fine. Determination is the God-given will to grow spiritually with the drive needed to press through challenges and difficult situations. Stubbornness is being unteachable and never willing to learn anything new because you are set in your ways.
When I was a child, I was very head-strong and willful. I was determined to have my own way and was convinced that no one could tell me what to do. How wrong I was! I am sure I helped contribute to gray hair for my mother’s head, but the Lord gave her the determination she needed to guide me to the correct my path. My grandmother told my mother that some of my willfulness was good because it would keep me from allowing people to take advantage of me. I believe this gave my mother some peace about my strong personality.
Even if you have stubborn tendencies, you can remain teachable and flexible to the degree that God can mold you. That is where the deliverance lies for the stubborn person. Fortunately, when I gave my life to the Lord, my zeal to live to give Him glory helped me to see where obstinance could hinder my relationship with Him. I began to realize that I would have to crucify the flesh in that area of my life. If you struggle in this same area, you will begin to experience freedom when you realize that you must be pliable and moldable to God. We are not winning by remaining stubborn when we need to yield.
Do You Have Anything to Learn?
When we yield to stubbornness, we have a strong tendency to believe we know everything and have nothing to learn from other people. That is a dangerous place to be in our lives! We block God’s hand from moving on our behalf as well as hinder our relationships with others.
Certainly, I am not saying that we should become doormats for other people and allow them to dictate our lives. We just need to remain flexible, asking the Holy Spirit to guide us as to when we need to stand firm on an issue or be humble. It is a great challenge for the strong personality type, but we can do all things through Christ.
There are some minor issues in which it is better to yield ourselves rather than appear to be right. Some things are simply not worth the arguing and hindering of a relationship. People are more important than getting our way. This particular lesson took years for me to learn. Unfortunately, I hurt many people along the way believing that I had to get the last word in an argument, and that I had to be right. I could never be wrong. Does any of this sound familiar?
Stubbornness Harms Relationships
During my stubborn bouts, I hurt my husband, my parents, children, and other family as well as co-workers. Admitting I could possibly be in the wrong was painful as I am certain it is for some of you. While it hurts to be wrong, the momentary pain of crushed pride is feasible when we look at the damage we are doing to our relationships with others, and most of all, to the Lord.
The scriptures have much to say on this issue. Psalm 81:11-12 says, “But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels.” The people of Israel could be very stubborn throughout the Old Testament. They grumbled and complained when they did not get their way then refused to listen to Moses when he tried to guide them. We need to be willing to accept guidance from other people, particularly if they are displaying wisdom in their own lives. Here is a strong scripture concerning accepting guidance: “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid,” Proverbs 12:1. That hurts, doesn’t it? People who will never listen to others, particularly the Lord, make themselves look unwise, and they are truly unwise!
Proverbs 29:1 states, “He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck, will suddenly be broken beyond healing.” Our stubbornness and refusing to yield will eventually bring about our downfall.
There are numerous scriptures that rebuke stubbornness, but since some very strong ones have been mentioned, I will give you what the Bible says is the solution to the problem. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,” 1 Peter 5:6.
There is Hope and Deliverance
Stubborn people are like the rest of those with issues. They are not beyond hope. It is a matter of taking on humility which is a choice and willing our selves to submit to God. The world will not come crashing down around you if you admit that you are wrong about something. Trust me, I have had to humble myself many times, and I have found that it brings such sweet relief. Be willing to take advice from someone who has been there. Humble yourself. If not, the Lord has ways of humbling you that are much more painful than crucifying the flesh.
Refusing to allow God to mold your stubborn heart will result in the wrath of God in your life (Romans 2:5).
Refusing correction is not wise (Proverbs 12:1).
Pray for a steadfast heart to overcome a stubborn nature (Psalm 78:8).
Yielding to your stubborn nature will cause you to move backward instead of forward in your life (Jeremiah 7:24).
There is wisdom in meekness rather than stubbornness (James 3:13).
The Bottom Line
Is your obstinance worth losing a marriage, a friendship, a job, or the respect of co-workers? If you search your heart, I believe you know the answer. Go before the Lord and ask Him to conform your will to His. He does beautiful work, and you will have more peace and joy than you have ever known.
People have been falsely accused since human beings began multiplying on the Earth. Not everyone loves the truth. Unfortunately, an outright lie, half-truth, or deceitful tale all come across as having more interest and spark than the plain truth. (Incidentally, half-truths and deceit are still lies, but they have enough twisted truth in them to make them believable.) In most situations, the truth is nothing like the thousands of rumors that fly around it.
Jesus dealt with false accusations during His time in this world. People accused the sinless Messiah of being a glutton and drunk (see Matthew 11:19). If God in the flesh could not avoid lying tongues, then neither will you nor I.
When someone spreads an untruth about us, it is hurtful. Truthfully, it is one of the things I hate most. Untold and irreversible damage has been done to people’s lives and reputations as a result of a false accusation.
In my own life, I have dealt with this problem. My type-A personality immediately wants to confront the accuser with the facts. In some cases, this is the best way to handle the problem. In other cases, it is best to be more tactful. Although I have learned much of this the hard way, I have often asked myself how I am to know which method is best–bold confrontation or more polite ways. The answer is simple: let the Holy Spirit direct you. He knows all, and He knows the best way to handle a situation.
My Side of the Story
When a dispute has taken place or one person’s version of a story has been heard, you can rest assured that there is another side to the story. Unfortunately, we do not always find out the other side. That is why the Bible commands us to withhold judgment. Certainly, we do not condone wrongdoing, but we leave judgment up to God in people’s personal situations.
Recently, I had some very blatant lies told about me. Some of the stories told about me were outright lies. Others were quotes attributed to me that were either twisted or taken completely out of context. It is always best to verify the facts before blurting out what we think we know.
Truthfully, I am reminded of times that I wanted to believe the worst I heard about others rather than consider that there might be another side to the story. When the gossip hits home, I am reminded that rumors are not fair to any person. We should not start them, and we should not entertain them.
What Does the Bible Say?
God’s word has much to say about rumors, both spreading them and dealing with them. When you are the one falsely accused, God has a remedy for you that brings peace. 1 Peter 3:16 reminds us that we should continue living right before God. The accusers will eventually be put to shame. In other words, keep doing right. Eventually, others will see the truth.
Isaiah 54:17 reminds us that weapons formed against His people do not prosper. It also states that every tongue that rises against you in judgment will be proven wrong. When we give these hurtful and frustrating situations to God, He will reveal the truth and bring good out of the situation.
A Look at Me
Whenever someone has brought a false accusation against me, I take time to prayerfully consider if there are ways I could have handled the situation better. Perhaps my tone of voice in saying something was a bit hurtful. Although God does not expect you to condemn yourself or take responsibility for something you have no fault in, it never hurts to ask the Lord if we could have spoken or acted differently in these situations.
After you have prayed about a false accusation, and given it to God, move on. Let it go. Dwelling on it only builds resentment which will spill over into your other relationships. When this happens, we often take our anger out on people who have done nothing wrong.
If you or someone you know has been to prison, lost a job, or divorced over a false accusation, I encourage you to seek godly counsel to deal with this hurtful circumstance. God can bring healing, and if restoration is needed, He can bring that as well.
Having confidence in your identity in Christ can be challenging in our culture. Society often discourages people from seeking to live a life that is godly. Society loves to encourage us to be moral, but morality is set by the standards of people who do not know Christ. It can make a difference. Knowing who you are in Christ and maintaining your confidence of who Jesus is to you will be a key to living a victorious Christian life.
DO NOT THROW IT AWAY
Depending on the Bible translation you are reading, Hebrews 10:35 states that we are not to cast away, or throw away, our confidence. The same verse goes on to say that our confidence has great reward. Knowing who we are in Christ and knowing that He is for us will keep us from falling when trying times come.
If you continue reading, you will find that the writer of Hebrews encourages the readers to keep the faith and encourages the development of patience. The believers to whom the book of Hebrews is addressed had faced a great deal of persecution. Their homes, property, and personal belongings had been confiscated by the government because they proclaimed the gospel of Jesus Christ. Many of them had been imprisoned. Others had been martyred for the cause of Christ. The writer of Hebrews commended these people because they had been through a great deal of persecution and remained strong and steadfast, but another trial of sorts had come upon them when the letter of Hebrews was written.
The Scriptures are not specific as to the trial these people were facing at that time, but the writer was encouraging them to keep their confidence. They were encouraged to remember that God would reward them for their faithfulness. They were reminded that the just must live by faith.
THE JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH
Knowing who we are in Christ and keeping our confidence will require walking by faith. God is pleased with our faith in Him. He can and will do powerful works through us to bring glory to Himself if we will remain yielded to Him.
As you are reading this post, you might be discouraged. You might be ready to throw in the towel, so to speak. I am not necessarily talking about backsliding. I am talking about giving up on your work for the Lord.
I am encouraging you to remain confident. Be confident in Jesus! Be confident in what He is doing in you. He will continue the work he began in you when you first believed in Him. Be confident in who you are in Him but aware of who you are without Him. Living by faith requires more boldness than living a normal life, but you were not called to be normal. You were called to stand out. You were not called to throw away your confidence. You were called to walk by faith and be confident in Christ.
Whatever you are facing, know that your faith pleases God. Even when your faith is weak, keep pressing on, confessing it to the Lord. He has ways of strengthening your faith. He will not forsake you. Do not give up because the Lord will bring you out victorious! “The Lord is a warrior. The Lord is His name (Exodus 15:3).”
Do not throw away your confidence. There is much that would be thrown away with it if you did. Keep going on this way because there is no other way that brings light and victory.
Last Sunday at church, I discussed the theme of James 3. If you are familiar with the book of James, you know exactly where I’m going. Ouch! Sometimes, the Word hurts, but we need to let it hurt.
From time to time, I have to take a step back in a manner of speaking and think about my words. What message do they convey? Am I speaking life or death? Am I helping or hurting with my words? These are questions we must all ask ourselves.
There are a number of ways to misuse your words. Although I will not be able to discuss all of them, I will attempt to highlight a few.
Proverbs 18:21 is a popular passage of scripture. It is often used for selfish purposes such as declaring that people should speak worldly prosperity into their lives. Although God has no problem blessing His people, the purpose of this passage was to remind us that we should not speak negatively about ourselves, others, or life in general.
Think about all the times that you speak negatively. How is your disposition afterward? Do you feel peace and joy? Or, do you feel down and in despair? While certain physical conditions can cause us to have a tendency to lean toward depression, speaking negatively can certainly affect our health and the way we get through a given day.
Constructive criticism is one thing, but berating every move another person makes is another. As we know it, constructive criticism is helpful because it is done out of a pure motive. Godly correction, which is a bit more than constructive criticism, is to be done in love and by the leading of the Holy Spirit.
When you speak critically of others, your God-given ability to practice forgiveness is hindered. Your focus is on the fault in everyone and everything rather than what is good. If you find it necessary to correct everything someone says or does, you have a tongue issue, and you need to seek God for deliverance.
Colossians 4:6 reminds us that our conversation should be covered with grace. Extend grace to others and to yourself. You will find that your disposition will improve. Trust me, everyone around you will be grateful.
I don’t know of too many people who have not gossiped at one time or another. It is a natural human tendency to tell what we have heard about others or a situation. Most of the time, we do not have all of the facts. Even if what we are repeating is true, there is a chance it does not need to be repeated. Check with the Holy Spirit. He will guide you.
Unfortunately, I have helped to spread gossip, and I have been the subject of gossip. Jesus, help me! I want to do better, and I believe you do too. Ephesians 4:29 reminds us that we should let no corrupt communication proceed from our mouths, but we should speak what edifies.
Walk away from a gossiping conversation. If you are unable to walk away, try to find something positive to say about the person in question. Or, simply remind everyone that the Lord commands us to address issues privately before telling them to everyone else (see Matthew 18).
Speak God’s word over your situations. I am not suggesting that you become a “name it and claim it” sort of person, but I am saying that you should allow your words to line up with what God says. God’s word says that you are an overcomer. God’s word says that He provides escape from every temptation. God’s word says that He has given you all things that you need for life and godliness. What else does God’s word say about you and your life?
When people offend us, and it will happen, choose mercy. I know it’s not easy. Just yesterday, I was extremely upset with a few people who were gossiping about some people I love. Although God calls us to confront situations, we still have to speak mercy. When I say to speak mercy, I mean that we must speak out that we choose to forgive our offenders and put them in God’s hands. Extending mercy will cause mercy to come back around to us.
God’s grace has been given freely to us as believers. We must extend that grace to others. and ourselves. Let people off the hook. You do not have to allow people to walk all over you, but sometimes we just need to let things go.
1 Corinthians 13:13 reminds us that faith, hope, and love abide, but the greatest of these is love. The love of God is given to us by the Holy Spirit when we accept Jesus. We can walk in love. We can do all things through Christ. Remember this: love is not a feeling. It is an act of your will.
What Will You Speak?
James 3:8 states that no man can tame the tongue. That’s right, we can’t, but God can. We have God in us through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit so our tongues can be tamed and used for God’s purposes. Jesus reminds us in Matthew 12:36 that we will give an account for every idle word that we speak. This does not mean that we should always be silent, but it does mean that we should speak by the leading of the Holy Spirit.
What will you speak? Life or death? Grace or evil? The choice is yours, but the same verse that says life and death are in the power of the tongue also says we reap the fruit of our words.
I completed this blog about a year ago, but I felt the need to share it here today.
Are you feeling discouraged lately? Maybe you feel let down by people you are close with, or, perhaps your circumstances in life never seem to get better. If anything, life seems to take a decline into the worst possible scenarios. Truth is, I have faced those times, and, often, I still see those days. Everyone gets discouraged. The question is: what will you do about it?
David Encouraged Himself in the Lord
King David, the author of many of the Psalms in the Bible, had to encourage himself in the Lord. David was anointed by the prophet, Samuel, to be King over Israel, but he did not immediately step into that position. Before becoming King, David went through many battles, many of them with Saul, who was King at the time David was anointed.
Saul was extremely jealous of David and attempted to kill him. David remained on the run from Saul for a long period of time. In 1 Samuel 30, David and his men came to Ziklag to discover the place had been burned, and all the people in Ziklag had been taken captive, including David’s wives.
The men with David were grieved. In their grief, they lashed out at David. They even threatened to stone him. Needless to say, David felt extremely distressed. However, he found something inside him that caused him to encourage himself in the Lord. Victory came soon after. The captives were rescued then, soon, David became King.
How You Can Encourage Yourself
Like David, you might be going through one battle after another. It might seem that everyone is lashing out at you due to their own grief. You might be waiting on some type of breakthrough or promise of God to come to pass just as David had to wait for a time before stepping into the position God promised him.
Throughout the Psalms written by David, he would express his true feelings to the Lord, but then he would praise God. One way of lifting a heavy spirit is to praise God. It is a challenge, at first. Soon, you will feel better. You can speak praise or sing praise.
Another way to encourage yourself is to reach out to someone else who is hurting. Sometimes, forgetting about yourself for a while and focusing on others will put your problems into perspective. Often, I have found that when I pray for someone else or reach out to another person, my situation will be resolved.
Finally, it is important to find scriptures of encouragement for your situation. Reading the Psalms or other uplifting scriptures will breath life into your situation. Speak those scriptures out loud, and you will notice what power the Word of God has. After all, the Word is living and active (Hebrews 4:12-13).
What about you? If you are discouraged, what steps will you take to encourage yourself in the Lord? You do not have to remain in a pit of discouragement!
If you do not know Jesus as your Savior, then you can change that today. It is not as complicated as you might have been led to believe. Romans 10:9-10 states the following: “That if you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heart one believes to righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
People we consider to be experts on certain topics often tell us to expect events to unfold in certain ways. Often, these people are correct. Of course, there are times when expert words are off base.
A doctor might tell a patient that she only has three months to live. A teacher might tell a student that he will never amount to anything. A naysayer might have you convinced that a negative situation will never change. The question is: who will you believe?
My Personal Situation
My husband and I have been in a tight situation for several years. Some well meaning people said that we would never see the end we were hoping for. What we were believing God for was just impossible. At times, it was tempting to take heed to these words.
We had a choice to make. God had promised us that He was going to work a miracle in our situation. He had spoken to us personally in our spirits (not an audible voice), and He had confirmed His promise through other Christians. Yet, we still had people, even God’s people, telling us it just couldn’t happen. According to them, we should not expect a turn around. We could either believe God or believe people.
Let me just insert a disclaimer at this point. Some of our naysayers were not horrible people. They were simply giving us what they had experienced. To believe God, we did not have to demean our naysayers. We just had to choose not to process their words in our minds.
Just a few days ago, my husband and I received the news we had been waiting for. I praise God that His word and His promises trumps all others! Let me tell you that we had been waiting for years for our situation to change. We knew we looked foolish to our naysayers as we pressed on and battled spiritual forces and our flesh to keep walking by faith.
I am telling you this because I want to encourage you. Your situation might seem impossible as if there is not an end in sight nor light at the end of the tunnel. However, I can tell you that if God has said He is going to turn the impossible around, He will do just that. What God promises, He delivers. He is not a man that he should like nor a son of man that he should change his mind (Numbers 23:19).
Reject Doubt and Fear
When other people tell you that God will not change your situation, you do not have to accept their words as final. You do not have to argue with your naysayers, but you can refuse to entertain their words. Whatever God has promised to you, hold on to that promise. Find scriptures that are relevant to your situation and speak them out loud.
Why shouldn’t we expect God to deliver the impossible? Throughout the Bible, we find many situations that He turned around in different ways. He is God, and He does not change. He still does wonders today.
Whose report will you believe? God’s report or man’s? Let God be true and every man a liar (Romans 3:4). His Word is the final authority.
I know you have all heard me speak of my upcoming book, Are You Ready for Transformation? It’s All In Your Mind. Originally, I had planned to have the book ready for publication this month; however, unforeseen circumstances have delayed me a bit. I do promise to have this ready in October.
The first ten chapters of the book discuss various types of thinking while the last ten chapters go into an in-depth Bible study of chapters one through ten. Today, I am posting chapter eleven here. It is a Bible study for chapter one. It is my hope that you enjoy this reading and study, and I hope you will consider purchasing the book once it is available for publication.
Chapter 11 (Bible Study for Chapter 1: It Is in Your Mind)
Thank you for finishing chapters 1-10. If you are with me in this chapter, you are serious about your transformation. The following chapters will correspond with chapters 1-10. You may or may not need to refer back to chapter readings.
Now that you have read about the various types of thinking that we often deal with, it is time to work on the transformation of your thinking. In chapter 1, I stated that the mind is different from the brain. Your mind is a part of your soul. You process both natural and spiritual matters here.
Turn to Romans 12:2 and read our theme verse from your favorite Bible translation. Write the verse on the following lines. After writing the verse, please record the Bible translation you are writing from. (I have a reason for this.)
Thank you for humoring me. I will explain at the end of today’s lesson the reason for writing your translation choice.
Now, back to Romans 12:2. First, we are instructed to avoid being conformed to the world. When the Bible refers to the world in this sense, scripture is not referring to the earth. The Bible is referring to the system of the world. Sadly, many people are controlled by Satan or their own fleshly desires. Most do not even realize this. The world system is predominately evil. Now, I am not saying that everyone in the world is evil. I am simply saying that the overall world system (government, secular entertainment, etc.) is not surrendered to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let’s look at the word “conformed”. Most translations use the word “conformed” in this text. Some of the other wording might be different though. If you have a translation that does not use the word “conformed”, I truly would like to know what version you are using simply out of curiosity.
Use an online dictionary to look up the word “conformed”. Write a brief definition in the following lines.
Now, we will look at Strong’s definition from the Greek text. If you ever wish to look up word meanings, you can go to www.blueletterbible.org and use the free resources which includes Bible dictionaries, commentaries, and lexicons.
The Greek word for “conformed” is “syschēmatizō” meaning “to fashion or shape one thing like another.” We are not to be fashioned like the world. We are to be different from the world. It is sad to say that many Christian people blend in with the world, so, unbelievers often are unable to see Christ in many Christians.
What do the following verses say about the way we are to conduct ourselves?
Matthew 5:13-16 ________________________________________________
The Greek word for “transformed” is “metamorphoō” meaning to change to another form, or to transfigure. The root word for transformed is the root for metamorphosis which describes the process of a caterpillar as it is changing to a butterfly. The Greek word for transfigure was the used in Matthew 17:2 when Jesus was transfigured before His disciples. Therefore, the transformation our minds go through is powerful. Take a few moments to visit Matthew 17: 1-8.
The change that will come to our minds after continual renewing is not to be taken lightly. It is a powerful transformation. When we yield to the Holy Spirit, we can think with the mind of Christ. That is some truly transformed thinking!
In conclusion, we will look at the word “renewing”. If your translation uses a slightly different word, the Greek is still the same so have no worries. The Greek word for “renewing” is “anakainōsis” meaning “renovation, a complete change for the better.” When a house is renovated, old items are replaced with new ones. When your mind is renewed, your old way of thinking is totally replaced with God’s way of thinking.
I don’t know about you, but I get excited when I think about the change of thinking that we can undergo through the power of the Holy Spirit. Renovation takes work. It can be painful as old mindsets are torn down, but the pain is worth the victory.
Write a brief prayer in the space below asking God to help you as you prepare to renovate your mind and tear down what is not of God and wallpaper your mind with what is of God.
Despair comes when you have continually been disappointed in a certain situation or relationship. It is the complete loss of hope. I have been in despair several times in my own life, and I know many others who have as well.
Although the Bible never promises that we will escape having feelings of despair, God does give us a way to overcome it. Paul, one of the Apostles, felt despair many times during his ministry. I believe there were times when his past haunted him, and he suffered major persecution. However, Paul managed to come out of his despair. We will discuss how he was able to do that.
Troubled on Every Side, Yet Not Distressed
When the Jewish leaders were not oppressing Paul, one of the churches would be upset with him. The church in Corinth had issues with him because of gossip that came from other influences. When you read the books of Corinthians, you will notice that Paul addresses these issues.
Paul knew where hope was. He knew hope was not even in his ministry. His hope was in Christ. Without Christ, his ministry would not be successful. Without Christ, Paul could not go beyond his past. Without Christ, Paul would not be preaching the gospel.
Perplexed But Not in Despair
Despair came to Paul on many occasions. Paul spent time in prison for the sake of the gospel. He had been beaten and stoned. In one instance, he was left being considered dead. Despair came, but Paul fought it. He did not give in to it. (Read 2 Corinthians 4:8-9).
Just because he did not give in to despair does not mean that Paul did not feel despair. In 2 Corinthians 1:1-9, Paul speaks of despairing of life. Then, in chapter 4 he says he is perplexed but not in despair. This leads me to believe that despair came, but Paul pressed past it. How did he do that? In Christ alone.
We Do Not Have to Despair
When you read Paul’s epistles, you will notice that he gives praise to the Lord. In 2 Corinthians 1, he praises God for being the God of all comfort. In Ephesians 1, he praises God for spiritual blessings. In Philippians 4, he speaks of rejoicing. There are other instances of praise in the other epistles. He did not praise because his troubles were over. He praised God through those troubles.
You and I can do the same. When waves of despair seem to wash over us threatening to knock us down and leave us with the inability to get back up, we do not have to give in. We are not without hope. We have Jesus Christ. He is hope! He is our hope.
No matter how dark your situation is, there is light. Jesus is the light of the world. There is no darkness in Him at all. You can praise Him now because He will get you through your darkest hour. Do not despair! You are not without hope. I am not without hope either.
If you do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, you can have one right now. Romans 10:9-10 says that if you will confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart, you believe to righteousness and with the mouth confession is made into salvation. Romans 10:13 tell us that whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.