But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
2 Corinthians 4:7-11
The apostle Paul spoke here of trouble, perplexity, persecution, and rejection. All these happened to him. But Paul also said there is a power that will enable a man to face such treatment without distress, despair, self-pity, or ruin. It is the power of God. The end products of distress can definitely be bodily changes. Your blood pressure, respiration, and digestion can be affected.
If you have a grudge against someone, who are you hurting? Who is affected when you are seething over a person who isn’t even in your presence? Yourself, of course. The other person may not even know you are having a difficult time thinking about them in a positive way.
There is a power that will enable you to face your circumstances without distress. It is the power of God, made available to you through the dying of the Lord Jesus. God’s power–and His alone–can make you want to forgive a person who has misused you. You will know if forgiveness has taken over your mind and attitude by whether or not you want to get even.
Many argue that they have a right to be bitter. It is your privilege to be upset and miserable. But as long as you insist on retaining your misery, you will have it.
The mere knowledge of sin, however, does not eliminate it or the problems that it causes. Wise is the person who heeds the advice of the apostle James:
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard but, doing it–he will be blessed in what he does.
The exhortation here is to people who want to be free from their misery, who want to be lifted out of their sin. It is strange but many counselees who say they want relief from their upset condition, become all the more upset when I tell them that they do not need to be upset. One would think they would seize the opportunity to shed their spirit of bitterness and hate.
For many people yielding bitterness and hatred in exchange for a tender heart toward someone who doesn’t deserve it would not be a blessed relief but rather a great sacrifice. Continue reading…