Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Down but not out: encouragement from the Apostle Paul

Advice from Adrian Warnock . . . 
Do you ever feel down? Do you ever feel at a low point? I have had a few months myself recently where things have been quite tough. Thankfully the corner is now turning for me.  But even at my lowest point, I have never got as low as the Apostle Paul did. The following verses from 2 Corinthians are very encouraging. We learn three critical points:
  1. Even a great Christian like the Apostle Paul is NOT immune to suffering, and not immune to feeling low when in the middle of difficulty.  This should perhaps not surprise us given that he once wrote about how Christians do grieve, just not in the same way as those who have no hope. So if anyone is telling you that you should just ‘pull yourself together’ and put on your fake Christian smily face, please don’t listen to them!
  2. The Apostle Paul was not afraid to admit his struggles to others, and nor should we be.
  3. In the midst of his challenges, the Apostle Paul did NOT give up, and nor did he despair. In his struggle, he was always conscious that the Power of God was at work in him, and we see that he clung onto faith.  There is no suffering so bad as that which causes us to doubt the grace and the love of God, or even his existence. The Christian need not be alone in the middle of their pain, even though many of us sadly do allow ourselves to drift away from the comfort that is there to be found if we will just look.
Will you join me in praying that this will be our experience even in the toughest challenges that life throws at us?
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, butnot driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsakenstruck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.” (2 Corinthians 4:7-12)

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