Summary: Many times we face difficulties in life. Jesus Christ is there for each of us, He never fails, and He will lead you through!
Surviving with Christ
As we take our journey that begins at the cradle and ends upon this earth when we enter our grave. We will often times experience circumstances that we do not fully understand. Things will take place in our lives that we do not want to accept. In other words, troubles are sure to come. Some may call them difficult times. Many will experience heartache…confusion…anger…and suffering from these times. One thing is certain…whether you know Christ as your Savior, or whether you are still pondering that decision, these uncomfortable circumstances will come. In our scripture this morning, Paul gives us words of encouragement, and he sheds the light of hope as we walk through the darkness!
Here Paul compares you and I to earthen vessels. In other words, he is comparing humans to weakened clay pots. If you have ever spent any time with flowers, you will know that these clay pots are easily broken. They same is true with you and I. We are easily broken. We are easily hurt and hindered in our walk. But Paul tells us that inside of these weakened vessels lies a treasure, and that treasure this morning is the Holy Spirit! You see, when you accept Christ, the Holy Spirit enters in and dwells within you, leading you and guiding you through these dark times, and He is able to do that through the teachings found in the Word of God.
Paul continues further to tell us that it is this power…not the power of man…not the power of some self help organization…it is the power of God, through the Holy Spirit that enables us to stand in these times of difficulty. To walk and not grow weary, to run and not faint.
Yet, we must face the fact, that as we live on this earth, there are times when we must be broken. Do you remember the story of Gideon found in Judges chapter 7? Let me refresh you memory. There stood Gideon with the 300 chosen warriors of God against the whole Midianite army. As his troops stood around this army in the darkness, do you remember what they had in there hands? They stood there with clay pots, and inside those clay pots where lights. This is tremendous…the enemy could not see the lights until those pots were broken…then the light shone bright! The Midianites got up and fell upon each other and were destroyed. This is the same way the battle works for you and I today. If you know Christ, some times your pot has to be broken in order for the light that lives inside of you to shine through. It maybe necessary for this light to shine through to help others see Jesus, and it may be necessary for this light to shine through so that you can see Jesus. Whatever the purpose for the brokenness, the pain, the heartache, or the suffering, rest assured that God is working in your life to bring about His perfect will and plan designed just for you!
What Paul is teaching here is that there is no doubt that you will experience some sort of physical or emotional pain as you attempt to follow Christ. Listen to what he says:
1. He was troubled on every side…all he could see was temptations, trials, and pain. There was nothing good that surrounded him.
2. Perplexed…in other words, despite all the effort to escape from this trouble, he could not find a way out. He was trapped.
3. Persecuted…his enemies were still pursuing him, even though there was no where for him to hide
4. Cast down…the enemy had gotten to him, he was tired, sick, hurting, and he was all alone.
Not very encouraging words are they? Pretty much we could write the rest of the story from here…Paul was doomed. This is only the first half of the discourse. Pay close attention to the second half:
1. Troubled…but not distressed…in other words even though things were mounting on every side and it seemed like it was hopeless, Paul knew that he could still turn to God!
2. Perplexed…but not in despair…he is saying I did not give up, I had the confidence that God would lead me through
3. Persecuted…but not forsaken…God is not going to abandon me, he is not going to leave me here to experience all this pain and suffering by myself
4. Cast down…but not destroyed…my enemies may come up against me, but they cannot destroy me for I am a child of the living God and I will be victorious through Christ!
I want you to consider what you are going through and the tough times that you are having and apply Paul’s teachings to your own circumstance and listen to the power that awaits: