HARD-PRESSED, PERPLEXED, PERSECUTED, STRUCK DOWN…, WHAT IS UP!?
Our hearts are being adjusted to the type of LOVE and COMMITMENT it is going to take to reach the LOST and BUILD up the body of Christ in these worldly chaotic times. Rhetoric we are hearing in the world as well as in some of the church, is causing fear, strife, division and confusion. Because of this, it is so vital that we see it for what it is and stay committed to the Word at all cost. A kingdom that is divided cannot stand, (Matthew 12:25).
Right now, it seems all of humanity is being squeezed at the same time. Every nation, every ethnicity, every man & woman, every social class, and in every vocation. It doesn’t matter where a person lives or where they’re from, we have all been placed under pressure to some extent and no one is exempt. There is wisdom that comes from man and there is the wisdom of God. Thank God we have His Word! If we have His Word, we have His wisdom.
In Galatians 5:22-23, the Apostle Paul talks about fruits of the Spirit. I love how he calls them fruits. Look at this Illustration. When a piece of fruit is squeezed or put under pressure, the character of that fruit comes out in the form of juice. Apple juice taste like an apple, there is no mistake, because apple juice comes from an apple. Right now, as humans, we are being squeezed collectively like I’ve never seen nor the world has seen, perhaps because of the age of technology and global connection. Everyone is able to sense or feel the pressure of this fallen world. At any given time, this pressure has allowed us to see what’s inside of people come out, and unfortunately it hasn’t been pretty. Unless we are committed to the Word, it will be just as easy for believers to not look so pretty either. It’s too costly for those of us who are spiritually mature to respond with anything less than the Word’s response.
Believer or non-believer, we are all experiencing the birth pains of the last days. These last days have inevitably brought pressure from the likes that many have never experienced before. I confidently say the difference between what comes out of a believer and a non-believer, due to pressure, should be as different between night and day.
But the fruit if the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control… -Galatians 5:22-23.
When we, as believers, are misunderstood and persecuted, do people get love and patience from us? When we are mistreated and threatened, do people get peace and self-control?
It is so important to remember what Jesus said to the disciples in, Matthew 15:11;17-18.
11“Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.” 17…Do you not understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? 18But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.
What comes out of believers will help or hinder our witness to the lost and those who are new in the faith. Our character can be the difference of just blending in, having no confidence to minister life, or walking in our new nature displaying God’s character with power and the Holy Spirit working with and confirming the Word with accompanying signs! It is also important to note that we are going to make mistakes as children of God and ministers of the gospel. It’s not about perfection. It’s about being quick to correct ourselves, own our mistakes, and ask for forgiveness. It’s about being able to put on humility and say, “I’m sorry, I missed it”.
God empowers humility and we need His power and anointing to do the work of the ministry.
Over the years we have had many phone calls and conversations with fellow believers who are confused and upset due to something they are dealing or struggling with. More often than not, their issue is a direct connection with what they are listening to (or not listening to). I just had a call about 8 weeks ago, with someone I ministered to years back. They were walking in freedom for nearly two years and then all the sudden all the old feelings came back. I ministered to them over the phone for about two hours and wasn’t satisfied when we hung up. I knew I didn’t have the whole story, but I continued to pray for this young man. He just called me last week and said he realized what had happened… I didn’t have the whole story because he didn’t have the whole story. Once he received revelation on it, I was able to minister to him and he’s fine now! Glory to God! It boiled down to what he was giving his ears to. He became confused because some teaching he was listening to contradicted what he had already received as truth and it stole the Word from him.
There is a difference between not understanding something and being confused by something. Lack of understanding is part of being taught and coming into the knowledge of the Word. Confusion comes from the devil and can lead us to a revolving door of hypocrisy. We are in the last days, hours perhaps, and the Bible has much to say about deceitful teaching that will draw people away from the truth –1 Timothy 4:1.Sadly, because the Word exposes this, we know it is going to happen to people. But not so with us! The Lord is saying for us to guard our hearts. To be careful what we are letting in. Anything that is contrary to the Word that we spend time with is an opportunity for confusion. We have purposed in our hearts to refuse to be confused. Even if the truth is unpopular and opens us up for persecution, we will remain in the light!
Although we may be feeling all the adjectives used in this title remember what the Word say’s
“We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.”
-2 Corinthians 4:8-10 (NKJV)
Thank you for your continued prayers, love, and support as we will continue to take this gospel of Jesus Christ, Into All the World, using every opportunity and platform to bring glory to our God.
With Love, Chris and Courtney Jacobs