I often get stuck thinking about what I cannot do. I think everyone has those moments and I get there more often than I would like to admit. I was reading and praying this morning and I had a few minutes of asking God to intercede for me and I got stuck listing why I was not able to do the work(s) He has called me to do. After a few minutes of listing all the weaknesses, faults, bad circumstances, and impossibilities, I was confronted with this question, “So What, Josh?”
If you have walked with Jesus for any period of time, you realize how the Holy Sprit answers our questions with questions. It was a line drawn in the sand, if I believe God asked me to do something should I do it, despite the impossibilities? The Christianese answer is, “Yes, your obedience has your next blessing!” While it is true, we often misinterpret blessing.
I was about 3 years into ministry and I was a youth pastor at a location in California. With the advice of wise Christian leaders and answers to prayer, I felt God told me to resign and go. I had so many questions and too few answers to make an educated decision. I kept hearing how my jump of faith would find me caught in the arms of Jesus with great blessing at the end. So, I jumped! I resigned my ministry position, moved in to my parents house with my wife and our one daughter, and began to look for work, ministry, opportunity, just about anything.
Three months later and with offers like being paid for ministry with fresh fish in Alaska, I could not get a real job to save my life. I felt helpless, hopeless and despair began to hit me. Why? Well, I had a notion that Jesus catching me, blessing me and seeing me through meant money in the bank account, fulfillment in my career or popularity and opportunity. Can those things happen and will they? You bet, but Jesus catching us in our faith jumps means more than the material. It was at my lowest point where I could not see much light ahead, that I write this in my journal.
“God, why is it that you see to my destruction and humiliation? I know I deserve nothing, but I am desperate and have nowhere else to turn!”
Like a lament psalm I got real before the Almighty God, and I then wrote this down a paragraph later:
“Josh, Your blessing, fortune and progress is solely based on the calling I have for you. You are so busy seeing what you cannot do or accomplish that you are missing the table I have set before you.”
This was 2002, and the crux of the story is that my mom was dying of cancer and I thought she was coming out of it. I finally settled down stopped searching endlessly and spent time with my mom, I repaired relationship with her and created memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I was in the valley of despair, and fearing all evil, until I woke up that day and I was introduced to the table set before my enemies (Psalm23). My marriage was rocky, credit was broken, my finances demolished, my gifting/calling was hibernating, and my closest friends silent. Oh, but that table! Once I recognized who set it up, who put it all together, I focused on the mission at hand, my mom, my marriage and my family.
Soon after that I was back in ministry and repairing the temporal things, but having a restored and shame free perspective to being in the waiting room. Perhaps you are in the waiting room, you are looking for the blessing and missing the table set before you. All you hear is, “You Can’t Do That!” and I pray that you can answer, “I sure can’t, but He can!”
1 Corinthians 5:6-8
Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
Paul was correcting the Church at Corinth about sexual immorality and one situation he heard of, a man with his father’s wife. Paul instructs the church to discipline this man by removing him from the church so that he had a chance to be saved from his sin.
Then Paul gives a verse that believers quote and memorize, “a little leaven leavens the whole lump.” However, we may be inclined to read over the “Your boasting is not good” that comes before this. What is Paul’s deal here? The church is probably growing; it is an exciting place to gather on Sunday, what is the deal? Paul is correcting the whole church leadership about one guy who decided to commit to what was not even allowed in the secular world around them.
I am not going to start writing about excommunication, but I would assume this person was part of the leadership, the boasting of the church in Corinth. Better yet, this correction was a message to the church to not concentrate on boasting of themselves, but all the more to be humble, because we can miss it. They had a lot of fleshy, lifestyle stuff to work out in their midst, and Paul was pushing for that to be their focus. Encouraging the people of the church is great, but boasting is a different thing entirely.
Now that I got that out of the way, I want to focus more on the leaven aspect. Here we get the leaven illustration, and this is not a sprinkle of yeast. This is a fermented piece of dough that gets rolled into the next batch of bread because it was left from some earlier batch. This was a standard aspect of bread making in those days, and no one would have been corrected for making bread this way. Paul is making a clear distinction between the world and the Kingdom of God here and I believe this was specifically targeting leaders in the church.
Should the Kingdom of God be sprinkled with the leaven of the world?
It is a tough question because we live in a culture that mixes secular with Christian living so seamlessly. We can easily get into discussions about whether something is a clear and cut sin and leave it there, but should we be having another conversation. Are believers living lives that invite anointing and favor? I can be straight and say Christian leaders should be living lives of purity, free from bondage of any kind.
Do our activities or choices have a little leaven in them? While our choice, in and of itself, may not have overt sin involved, did we make that choice because of the leaven left over from a sinful choice we made prior or those around us? We find the original law in Leviticus 18:1-5 and the reason for this and other laws of its kind was the heart of God, that His people would be different from those who were not His people. The heart of New Testament grace is still the same, are we different from those who do not walk as Christians? Sure, all things are permissible that are not overtly sin, but it is not always good for you or the Kingdom. (1 Cor. 10:30) Overt sin is rarely something that just happens at the moment; it is the product of the creeping in of leaven (tainted life) that slowly eradicates our discernment.
What separates us from the world around us is most precious, and it is the main tool that God uses, outside of His Word, to chase after the hurting and broken. The short answer is that no leaven, as Paul describes it, will be mixed into the Kingdom of God in the finality of it all. God loves us so much, He extends so much grace to us, but let’s pursue the things that are most advantageous to us as followers of Jesus.
Any thoughts to add? Want to hear what you think on the subject.
I was reading this morning from Nahum, and something caught my attention. Our influence will be a matter of great responsibility.
And all for the countless whorings of the prostitute,
graceful and of deadly charms,
who betrays nations with her whorings,
and peoples with her charms.
Behold, I am against you,
declares the Lord of hosts,
and will lift up your skirts over your face;
and I will make nations look at your nakedness
and kingdoms at your shame.
Ninevah was under judgment, and sexual immorality was what was pointed out. Ninevah was receiving a judgment from God because they were not only involved in sexual immorality (whorings), but they influenced a large part of the Near East with their immorality. It was their influence and how they used it that brought such judgment from God. We should know that with influence comes great responsibility. When we ask God for influence, we ask Him to give us the burden of judgment that can come with it. The yoke is easy and the burden light when we carry it with Jesus. Without Jesus, the burden is too big, and our pride will bring destruction eventually.
I am not huge title guy, so, if someone wants to call me pastor, great. I believe that my being a pastor is displayed in the life I give to others and I do not need a title to do that. Why do I mention this? We are human, and it is easy for us to strive for recognition, title, and affirmation not realizing the weight of it all. God does not judge us based on our title, He judges us based on our actual influence.
Everyone to whom much was given, of him, much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more. – Luke 12:48b
Influence is not given, it is earned. One cannot claim ignorance when confronted with their own influence, and so we are responsible. Influence grows, titles stay the same. Nations, empires, and communities have seen destruction due to their respective influence. So what? Why does this matter to me?
You and I are people of influence, and how much influence may vary, but the responsibility is like in kind. Perhaps your influence is your children and family, or you lead in a corporate environment. It does not matter; we need to take inventory and observe how our influence is impacting others. God takes influence very seriously as we see in Nahum, but Jesus gave us this to chew on:
Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, 6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. – Matthew 18:5-6
As a believer, it is a privilege to lead and have influence. It is when I take inventory of the influence I have, that I see my weaknesses, strengths and the hand of God in my life. It is a joy to see what God has done and will do. We are all influencers and may we all take it with joy and gratitude for the opportunity to show others a Christ-like life.
This morning, I had a reckoning moment with God. Even better, God had one with me. I was reading from 1 Samuel 25:12-27 as part of my reading plan and I actually thought it was simple and boring and that I would just get more out of my New Testament reading… I was wrong. I just got back from a wonderful vacation and with Easter and so many things coming down for us at once, I was overcome with an anxiety I was not comfortable with. I immediately went to prayer and I was reminded to pray for my best friend who is in a physical struggle that I can only understand at the surface. God prompted me to re-read 1 Samuel 25:12-27 and so I did just that.
When Abigail saw David, she hurried and got down from the donkey and fell before David on her face and bowed to the ground. 24 She fell at his feet and said, “On me alone, my lord, be the guilt. Please let your servant speak in your ears, and hear the words of your servant. 25 Let not my lord regard this worthless fellow, Nabal, for as his name is, so is he. Nabal[c] is his name, and folly is with him. But I your servant did not see the young men of my lord, whom you sent. 26 Now then, my lord, as the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, because the Lord has restrained you from bloodguilt and from saving with your own hand, now then let your enemies and those who seek to do evil to my lord be as Nabal. 27 And now let this present that your servant has brought to my lord be given to the young men who follow my lord.
- God is in control
Even when we think something is too hard or if we are the victims of some kind of evil, we must come to grips with the truth that God is in control. God is not surprised with your issue and this may create larger questions and issues for you regarding God, but this is the truth.
- You must get on your face (humility) before you can be free
Abigail came to the king (David) and interceded for her foolish husband. She and everyone in her family and property were spared, the king thanked her in the process, and later God took care of Nabal instead of human intervention.
- Interceding for others includes those that hurt you
This was my toughest hurdle, technically, I am still mid-jump over this one. I had the tendency to walk around praying and shouting for God to save others from the same hurt and to shut down the one who hurt me. I thought I had forgiven when I simply overlooked the pain in my own power. God showed me clearly that I would know when I was healed… when I could come to the King of Kings, much like Abigail, and offer a gift and beg for the very life of the one who hurt me. God was showing me that for years, but for some reason the phone was connected this time, I heard the message clearly.
- Your healing comes at the expense of you
Let me explain, I have to give up my right to be right. I have to give up my need to have a reason for why something happened to me. When I can be joyful simply because God is walking and talking with me, my freedom is at hand. It is good to claim the promises of God and to come to His throne boldly, but may we never misinterpret this boldness. Our boldest moments come when we are empty of our own agendas and we simply bless God and others. Abigail had every right to let David kill as planned, technically she could have asked for shelter and protection, but instead she honored the king with her humility and wisdom.
Victory comes with humility, wisdom and love, but you are not the one who brings it. God brings your victory and when we usher in our own victories, we soon learn that they are short-lived and become bondage in our spiritual lives. True spiritual victory never binds, it frees.
John 15:15 is an interesting passage and often the subject of modern Christian apparel and vernacular. Jesus is my friend! I love that aspect about walking with Jesus, but let’s remember that Jesus said this to his disciples at the end of His ministry when they walked through a discipleship process. I would be robbing God’s people if I told them that “Jesus is your friend” right after they gave their lives to Jesus without letting them in on the discipleship process.
John 15:12-15 tells us:
This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.
The discipleship of Jesus was a process and a tough one at that. Jesus instantly had his disciples working from the start of the relationship and challenged the first disciples in Matthew 4:19.
And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
A key to the process, follow —> make —-> fishers of men. In other words, our obedience affords the creation process of who we are supposed to be. The word “make” in verse 19, is the same word from Genesis 1:26.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
Jesus told a group of Jewish males that if they followed Him, Jesus would CREATE them into what they were not. He would do the impossible in and through them. I love this! As believers, we are created into this status of a child of God, but the only way to be a child of God is to follow him. We need to drop everything and surrender to him. This is the discipleship process, and it is never easy, but only God can do the creation aspect of this relationship.
You remember the Jesus is my homie movement? Then came bobble head Jesus that said yes to just about everything. Jesus is not my homie; he is my King and Savior. Jesus can call us friends when we have heard from Him and obeyed (vs. 15).
I want Jesus as my friend because I want to do the will of God. Otherwise, we only want a ticket to heaven or at least an escape from hell without the road of discipleship that God wants for us. When we follow Jesus, we submit our authority to Him, and He then will make us (create us) to be more like Him.
His love for us is so deep and goes to all lengths to meet us where we are at, but as cliche’ as it sounds… He does not want to leave us there. Jesus no longer called the disciples servants, not because they stopped serving, but because they knew the plans of the master. Servants never know the plans of the master, friends know and do the plans of Jesus.
The subject of living in freedom could not be covered in a simple blog post, but I wanted to continue from my post about shame yesterday. We have two choices to respond from, shame or freedom. The gospel is freedom and Jesus portrayed living in freedom best. Have you ever felt you had two choices when making a decision, but one was so far out of reach because of your circumstances or relationships? Freedom affords us choices, shame affords us a single choice and eventually shame will cover the presence of freedom, as if it were not available.
Our response to the call of God is a great example of living in freedom. For instance, Moses, was called back to deliver the Jewish people out of the hands of Egypt. When he was confronted by the burning bush and found out it was God, here was his response:
Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” Exodus 3:10-11 ESV
Moses was quick to identify himself before the Lord in verse 4, but he then proceeded to question and delay the proper response to God not just once, but four times. He asked God to send someone else and shame has that effect on us. We tell God that it cannot be us He would use, but it must be someone else who is more prepared, more outgoing, better dressed, has more money, and it goes on.
So what does a freedom response look like? Jesus was a pure example of freedom, but there are two instances we can be encouraged by. First, Jesus defended the adulterous woman in John 8:1-11, and from what we know, the woman was clearly adulterous. When Jesus was tested by the crowd and religious leaders about what should have been done, Jesus responded in freedom. You see, freedom is not concerned with just your own welfare, it is concerned about others just as much. Our concern for others should be Christ-like, not performance-driven, trying to win the hearts of men with your decisions and actions. Jesus wrote something on the ground with his finger twice and challenged anyone without sin to cast the first stone. Everyone left and Jesus challenged the woman to “go and sin no more.”
Freedom allows you and I to see the pain or indecision of another and give them encouragement and grace. It allows us to have a Jesus-like response in the face of accusation and hostility. Jesus gave us another great example in the Garden of Gethsemane. He was going to die on a cross and he knew the coming future all too well. When faced with the stress of the cross, Jesus said this:
“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” – Luke 22:42
That is a prayer of freedom. Freedom is not the ability to make whatever decision you want despite the consequences to you or others. Freedom is the ability to make the right decision free from shame and clouded judgment. Freedom is us truly identifying with Christ and being free from the shackles that sin puts us in. Shame reminds us that we are sinners with no hope, freedom proclaims that Jesus is risen and at the right hand God, interceding for us before the Father. (Romans 8:34)
Not every Christian is free from shame, most of us will struggle with it in some capacity from time to time. Our freedom is promised and your relationship with Jesus affords it to you.
I read a book some years ago called Free Yourself Be Yourself by Alan D. Wright when I first came on staff at Christian Life Center. At first, the title made me a little squeamish because I am not into touchy feely books or content, or that is what I tell myself. The freedom I experienced after reading that book were quite amazing and applying the principles to my life became a pursuit over the last two years. Shame is crippling and, like me, many of us would never think that we filter our entire lives around shame.
Most of the time, the word shame is saved for altar calls, or part of some incredible testimony of deliverance from addictions, freedom from sexual abuse, etc. However, most people suffer from some grip that shame has on them.
Shame Is Contagious
Much like a virus, shame spreads easily and is passed down within the family unit, workplace, education system and even the church. The only way to stop the spread is the gospel because shame is a primary product of separation from God. It started in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve hid together instead of running to God.
Shame Is Motivational
Let’s face it; we can react to things in one of two ways: in freedom or shame. For instance, your child spills his plate while standing in line at a church potluck and it lands on someone in front of him. As a parent, you have one of two filters to respond through. You could shame your child and take a public discipline approach making sure the adult the child spilled on feels like the punishment fit the crime and show how embarrassed you are. Or, you could politely apologize or hint to your child to apologize and then work together to clean it up and comfort the child that is was an accident and offer kind assistance or payment for the outfit cleaning of the spill victim. Shame motivates behavior, response, and emotions.
Shame Damages Relationships
In my spill illustration, if the child is shamed publicly, the effect is damaging. I am not saying that children do not need correction or discipline, they need it and it is biblical, in a loving and graceful manner that has restoration in mind. This is not a post about discipline, but about the shame filter. When you create an atmosphere in a relationship that is motivated by shame, both parties fall victim to the shame filter. I remember as a child that if my father, grandfather, uncle approached me in anger, I would flinch or cower. My parents or family never abused me physically or even emotionally, but I knew that anger meant there was only one last place to go to. I deserved a butt whooping as a kid, but the point is we do not have to verbally teach our children to learn shame responses, it is built into us because of our sin nature.
Shame Deflects or Absorbs
You need to read the book I mentioned to get a full picture of the shame we often live with. For those that may seem confident in life: shame causes us to live in self-preservation mode, and we defend our position to a fault, alienating relationships, forcing our authority where it was not needed. For those who lack confidence: shame causes you to retreat, to accept incoming abuse as deserved and to settle for less. Get two people who react in shame, and you have a full-blown battle of deflection. If a wife is verbally shaming her husband all the time and the husband just takes it because that’s the way it is, it is unhealthy, and both have a shame reaction. The wife is the active ingredient, and the husband is the catalyst, coming together to form a creation of bondage. Shame is often associated with the one taking the abuse or garbage, but the one giving it is living in shame just as much. I even wrote that illustration as an example of the shame that readers may even react with. You may have thought, “Why did he choose the wife as the aggressive one.” and I would answer in freedom, “because it’s my illustration.”
Shame Is Not Leadership
I am still learning this point in my life. I remember growing up, and coaches, teachers, pastors and leaders would often use public humiliation and shame to lead people. Words like, “You embarrass me” or “If it were me, I would have done it differently,” “Are you stupid” and the list goes on. When we lead from a position of shame, we are coming from a position of weakness that only elevates you once someone else is down. When we lead from freedom, we come from a position of strength that pulls people up with us. I find that leaders who are overprotective of their churches, ministries, departments, etc. are often dealing with shame in some way. Jesus never told his disciples to make disciples and then bring them back to the church in Jerusalem since that is the only church approved by God. No, Jesus gave them a systematic approach to spreading all over the world. Shame tells us that if someone speaks better or has more people under them, that we should talk bad about them, find faults and warn everyone how much better you are. Eventually, shame takes us from protection to isolation, to destruction. Let’s lead from freedom, the freedom that Christ gives us.
I will write about the freedom side of the battle tomorrow, but I would challenge anyone who has not read the book, to do so, you will benefit greatly. Also, take some alone time and reflect on how shame has influenced your choices, your life, etc. There is hope, and that hope is Jesus.
Get the Book Here – https://www.amazon.com/Free-Yourself-Be-Power-Escape/dp/1601422768
My son comes into the house one day with wet boots all over the floor, jacket half open, no hat and his hands are filthy. This is what I see, that and red, all red. I have issues with cleanliness that I need to get over I am sure. My son is crazy excited about a cool rock he found in the great outdoors, with no concern for his health mind you. This is the tone that is in my head, and the tone that is in my head orchestrates my heart on the issue like a puppet on strings. I wish I had the “awesome dad” reaction that would cause Hollywood to write a script about it. I did not; instead, I lost it. I elevated to a yelling tone about what he did by bringing his boots wet through the house, how his jacket should be closed in such weather and how filthy he was.
His face was a window to his heart at that moment. He looked crushed and ready to bolt away and I let him. See this story gets no better for my reputation. I continue to work on my project and had very little conviction about reaction initially, because I was too busy and the noise of life spoke louder than the Holy Spirit at that moment. About a half hour later, I went to hug my son as I normally do throughout the day and realized he had some apprehension. Instantly, it hit me like a ton of bricks, I crushed his spirit.
Immediately, the Holy Spirit gave me such an illustration that it broke me. He showed my how I am often like my son and I come in broken, messed up, just a tad crooked and off course, but I brought my best at that moment and he was pleased with me. I immediately sat my son down and asked him to forgive me and my son was quick to forgive and we had a great conversation about cool rocks. The thing is, most of the time we know better. I understand tone can dictate the course of a relationship immediately and over time. Here is what Paul had to say about moments like this:
For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. – Romans 7:15-20
I will write about parenting and discipline some other time, but I really felt the need to focus on leadership in the home and how much tone is a stage for that leadership. Fact is tone is a stage for leadership in any setting, not just the home.
Tone is a showcase of your heart’s current condition. If we are honest we all lose it sometimes, but what is it that flips the switch for you? I know for me there are some key warning signs for my poor tone and here are some of them:
- Poor Devotional Time
I often find myself apologizing and repenting when I skimp out on what is important to me, Jesus time. I quickly read the Bible plan I have setup and get moving with the day instead of taking to time to pray, worship, read and then write it all out in my journal. This will cause me to revert to my flesh in times where I could have been much more sensetive to others and the Holy Spirit. The fact is I cannot be Christ-like without the Holy Spirit and none of us should try.
- Lack of Organization
I get overwhelmed when things are not in order, and perhaps I can be a bit OCD about it. I know how to be organized and even find myself being quite good at it, so those moments where things are not in order, I break a little. My OCD aside, our lives require a level of organization that allows us to focus on interuptions and other things with little stress. You may only need to know when to eat and sleep and life is great. That is fine, but find your level of organization necessary to clear your head for a healthy heart.
I have plans, ideas, and dreams and then my son walks on them with muddy, wet boots. That is excessive, and my son never did that, but when we are fighting self-preservation, that is the filter we see things through. Self-Preservation tells us that we are the center of the universe and all things must revolve around us, and we will do what it takes to keep us comfortable.
There are so many other reasons, but these three are my top conditions for unhealthy tone in my leadership. What about you? What are some things that you have to set in order or focus on to maintain healthy leadership tone?
I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish – Romans 1:14
In Christian circles, we use the word “call” often and just like the word love, grace, mercy, worship, and Christian, these words can start to lose their power in the English vernacular. The Apostle Paul was writing to the Christians in Rome and telling them how he desired to visit them. He then defined what we refer to as a “call” as an obligation.
Challenge yourself to substitute the word “obligation” for “call” each time. It will have a significant impact on your life and the choices you make. We may even be slow to designate our calls and ask God to confirm all the more. The word obligation is much less ethereal. It means something of a formal contract, an action required by promise or vow. The original Greek describes an obligated as “debtor.”
When God calls us to something specific, it becomes an obligation. Much like when we consider debt, we still have the choice to pay the debt or avoid it, but it is a debt just the same. This can be difficult to process when we think of the grace of Christ, but the grace and mercy have more to do with relationship than occupation. You see, Paul experienced the full grace of Jesus, and now he is under obligation to reach the Gentiles so they can experience the same. The call of God is by no means a grace-filled journey, your relationship with Jesus is. The call can be rough; it can tax us beyond what we can handle, and this is because we cannot do it on our own. The obligation is a partnership between Jesus and you, where Jesus carries the heaviest weight, making our burdens light.
Bible Text: Matt. 27:57-66
So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard – vs 66
The old expression that says, “when it rains, it pours” is often a part of the Christian life. It is often in the darkest hour, where we think nothing else could go worse than it is, that something does go worse. In our reading today, the scene was set to seal the fate of Jesus, to keep him buried and out of view. When we are in our trials, the enemy of our very soul desires to have you see Jesus in this manner. Buried, dead and unable to come to us, we start to make decisions that are in our own power. Desperation and despair are the twins of agony that simulate the defeat of a Christian just before a huge victory.
The disciples were suffering from the shock of losing their teacher, master, and friend. What is your first reaction after a shocking or debilitating defeat or failure? The life of a Christian is a journey and the failures we experience are not always in our own power, and we have a merciful, loving God who knows our weaknesses. Some Christians live by a mantra of “God will never give us more than we can handle”, but this verse in 1 Corinthians 10:3 does not say that at all. This verse simply talks about temptation and nothing else. Yes, God will give us more than we can handle all the time. If we were only given what we can handle we would have no need for what was about to happen in that sealed tomb.
We must be dependent on the Holy Spirit daily. It is too easy to put our guard down in times of blessing, and then muster up our faith when trial hits. Unfortunately, this pattern is exhausting and will cause Christians to burnout, or worse yet, to walk away defeated. Your circumstances may be bleak, your situation at the darkest, but the tomb is about to be empty.
The Real Truth: God will give you MORE than You can handle.