"We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed." (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)
Remember the class bully when you were in grade school? He intimidated everyone. He was nothing but a 5-foot, 140-pound heap of trouble who scared everyone silly. Well, you’re over that situation by now, but trouble is still around.
In this life there is trouble...trouble with every opportunity the devil gets. The Apostle Paul said he was troubled by circumstances on every side...but on the inside he was not distressed.
Paul fixed his attention, not on external circumstances, but on the light of the gospel in his inner man, because that’s where the excellency of God’s power is. Knowing the truth will always make you free. “We’re perplexed,” he said. The Greek word for perplexed means “to be cornered by the circumstances.” “But we’re not in despair.” In other words, even when it looks like there’s no way out, I can find a way out if I look to the Word that’s living in me.
“Persecuted, but not forsaken.” If I’m persecuted on the outside, how do I know God hasn’t forsaken me? Because when I look on the inside, I can hear Jesus saying, “I’ll never leave you nor forsake you, even to the ends of the earth.”
Perplexed...persecuted...cast down. There’s no doubt about it, Paul was under more pressure than most of us today will ever experience. But he handled it...and so can you if you’ll do the following three things:
1) Remember where the pressure is coming from—the outside! And remember where your life force comes from—the inside!
2) Stop running on a spiritual deficit. Take time to feed your inner man with the Word of God. Fast your body if necessary and feast your spirit on the Word so your inner man can get stronger more quickly.
3) Focus on Jesus inside you until your inner picture of Him is bigger than the outside situations you’re facing.
If you’ll build up your spirit man in those three ways, when pressure comes, it won’t affect you like it may be doing today. Soon, the problems that are knocking you flat won’t even bother you anymore.
Remember the bully? He couldn’t even make you blink today, now that you’re 6 feet tall. What happened? What changed? You grew. You’re stronger now. He’s no longer a threat. That’s what happened to Paul. He grew! He kept feeding on the Word until the image of Jesus within him grew bigger than the pressures around him.
So just keep feeding your spirit man on the Word. Get strong on the inside. And don’t let the bullies get you down.