Summary: How to take life’s lickings and keep on ticking for Christ
How many of you have ever felt the pressures of life?
Let’s not fool ourselves
We live in a fallen world
And we are surrounded by everyday troubles and stresses
A nation in conflict
Today, I am beginning a short series on “I’m at my wits end”
Some of us are at a point in our lives where we feel as if we just can take it any more
For one reason or another, we may feel like we are at the end of our rope
You may be asking yourself, “Why am I going through this? Am I the only one who is having this problem? And how can I bounce back from it?”
Today, I would like to address some of these questions and talk to you about becoming what I call a “Timex” Christian
Back in the 70’s, Timex’s slogan was “It takes a licking and keeps on ticking”
How then can we endure the “lickings” of life and keep on “ticking”?
The Apostle Paul addresses this very issue in 2 Corinthians 4:7-10
Looking at this scripture text, let’s draw a few applications from it
1. You are going to have problems
Here we have Paul, who wrote the majority of the New Testament, having and facing problems
He was shipwrecked 3 times
Put in prison multiple times
He had many ministry issues
He had a “thorn in the flesh”
It doesn’t matter who you are, how spiritually mature or immature you are, you are going to experience the problems and pressures of life
Just because you come to Jesus, doesn’t mean the world and your enemy are going to cut you any slack
In fact, it will probably intensify
Paul not only describes the types of problems and stresses that we all face, but how we can over come them
2. I’m pressed, but not crushed
Paul is saying that we are “hard pressed on every side”
This is the pressure of the world
But, I am not crushed – why?
Let me illustrate with these two cans
This can is unopened and full of soda
And this one is opened and completely empty
If I take the first can and squeeze with all my might, I can’t crush it
Now, I know that with enough pressure this can will rupture, but bear with me
If I take the empty can and apply only a small amount of pressure, it collapses
Notice that I wasn’t able to crush this can because it isn’t open to the world
Secondly, there is something inside
“Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” – 1 John 4:4
This can collapsed very easily because it 1) was open to the world 2) there was nothing inside it
How then can I be pressed but not crushed?
I make a decision not to open myself up to the world, and allow Christ to be my strength
3. I’m confused, but I’m not freaking out
The word perplexed used here in the Greek literally translates “to have no way out; to be at a mental loss”
Basically, have you ever been confused?
Not knowing where to turn or what to do?
How is it then that I can be “at a mental loss” and not freak out?
Same reason as before, it is Christ within me
Christ is all knowing
He is omniscient
He knows what tomorrow holds
He is in control
The reason I’m not freaking out is because I know that God is going to work it all out for my good
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose” – Romans 8:28 NLT