Life is full of winding roads plagued with potholes, debris, roadblocks, unexpected obstacles, and a speed trap every few miles. The challenge for us is to maneuver our way along the road of life and not become distracted or sidetracked by these. Easier said than done, right? Maybe an example would help. Let’s look at the words of the Apostle Paul who was certainly no stranger to obstacles and roadblocks.
In 2 Corinthians 11:23-27 (NLT) Paul writes, “… I have … been put in prison …, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again. Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm. Then, besides all this, I have the daily burden of my concern for all the churches.”
Can you imagine going through even a fraction of what Paul went through? And yet in Philippians 4:11-13, 19 (NLT) Paul explains, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”
There is no doubt that Paul had been through a lot, but there came a point where he could say, “I have learned the secret.” What was it? “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”
To Paul, his struggles meant nothing because his strength was found not in himself, but in Jesus. That’s why he could say that not only would God provide all he needed, but that God would meet all of our needs as well according to his [God’s] glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
But has He? Are all of your needs met? I think for most of us the answer lies in our circumstances. If everything is going good then our answer is, yes. God is meeting all of our needs. But what happens when circumstances turn against us? Can we say with Paul that no matter what’s going on in our life we are confident because our strength is found in Jesus?
Let me ask you four simple questions.
Where is your focus?
Where are your priorities?
What is your expectation?
What is your attitude?
In Galatians 2:20 Paul wrote, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” In Colossians 3:4 Paul says plainly, “Jesus is our life.”
Paul had learned the secret and it was all about Jesus. The problem most of us have is that Jesus is NOT our life.
In 2 Timothy 3:1-17 Paul tells Timothy that the day will come when, “People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power.”
Sadly, that describes many believers today.
Paul went on to tell Timothy to, “…continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Everything we need has been provided in His Word.
Romans 15:4 reminds us that. “…everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
2 Corinthians 1:20 says that, “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ.”
In John 8:32 Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.” So if you are not free then you don’t really know the truth. You may have heard it, but you haven’t embraced it.
Romans 12:2 (Amplified Bible) says, “Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].”
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 (NIV) says, “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”
Again, it comes back down to focus. What drives you? Are you conformed to this world or God’s Kingdom? Renew your mind, change your thinking, and grasp hold of who you are in Christ.
Your Bible has everything you need so make it the priority in your life.
Joshua 1:8-9 says, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
If your focus is on the Word, if it is the priority in your life, if your expectation is that God will always be faithful to keep His promises, and your attitude is one of unwavering trust, then no matter what comes your way, you can stand with Paul and proclaim, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”
What an awesome promise. Let’s lay hold of the sufficiency of God’s Word. If it can work for Paul, it can work for you and me. Remember, Paul was just a man. He lived in the same era that we live in; the period following Jesus’ death and resurrection. There is no difference between us and Paul except that He did what we are discussing here. He made the Word his governing priority, realizing that God had all the answers he would ever need. He learned the secret, and now he has passed it on to us.
It starts with the simple decision to believe what God said. Are you willing to take that first step?
If this blog has prompted questions or if you are ready to take the next step, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Fruitbearers Outreach Ministry