5/7/2000 11:00 AM
Consider what faces us in life and how we can handle it. "Men's hearts failing them for fear and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth..." Men not being able to stand for fear. People can be influenced by what happens around them.
Matthew 26:55, 56, 69-75
Christ was preparing his disciples for what was coming in Luke. He wanted them not to be fainthearted. All the disciples fled and Peter denied Christ. We don't want to be influenced by fear and fail of the grace of God. Yet, God can work to strengthen. After the day of Pentecost, Peter was able to look these same people in the eye and tell them like it was. We need the strength God can provide. God can strengthen us to be faithful to him.
The chapter goes along with the 21st chapter of Luke. The day can come upon us, but we can have strength from God to stand. We haven't seen REAL difficulty as some have seen it. God could allow some tough times to come. Draw on God when fear comes. When the king put the Hebrew boys in the furnace he was firm, but when God intervened he didn't know how to handle it and it brought fear.
If you faint in the day of adversity, you won't be able to make it. Be settled to go with God - difficulty or no difficulty. Hard times are a part of life and we need to go through them with God. If we can endure adversity, we will know we can go through.
When adversity comes, the tendency is to dwell on the adverse condition and magnify the trouble that we're going through. Think on Jesus and the trouble will shrink and become as nothing. There is no reason to be wearied or faint in our minds. Christ had multitudes for him and against him. If you go unnoticed, at least that means there isn't a multitude against you. Most of our "mountains of trouble" do well to be molehills.
2 Corinthians 4:13-18
"We have the same spirit of faith..." What made it possible for Christ to go through also makes it possible for us to go through. The Spirit of God makes a difference and keeps us from fainting. If we go on our own strength we will find that our strength is small in the day of adversity. If we go on God's strength, we'll have more than enough to make it through. "Though the outward man perish, our inward man is renewed day by day." He said his trouble was a "light affliction"; how much less is our affliction? Focus on the eternal things. The things of this world are temporary. If we keep our eyes on the eternal things, we need not faint. There may be spiritual or temporal shakings. When the shaking comes, lay hold on God. See what is real and what is not. Keep your eyes on things eternal. They will remain firm.
Paul desired that they not be distressed because of the troubles he was having because he was doing what he was doing for them. He wanted them to be strong and unhindered by this. Paul never complained about being in jail. He kept on preaching - even in jail. Rome was the only place he went where there was no riot - he was protected (in jail) by the soldiers. Murmuring and complaining was not a part of Paul's ministry. They faced fearful things but he wanted them to stand firm by God's strength. We can draw upon the strength of God even today. This is how we will be able to work for God - by his strength. Draw on the Spirit of God and go through.