"It is for freedom that Christ has set you free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery". Galatians 5:1
Ponder: Some days I just feel "edgy." I wouldn't describe myself as a naturally contented person. My brain can only be described as being on"steroids," running so fast that I can barely keep up with the thoughts. I flow with this until the inevitable crash and exhaustion happens. I have had to learn how to deal with this ever since my early teens. I have tried so many of my own ways; food, sex, escaping into binge reading and tv watching, becoming a very "needy" person at times. There is a diagnosis to the actual circumstance of my brain, there is a chemical imbalance but do I have a choice or not in how I learn to live with this, at times, incredible discomfort?
I am in good company. Paul in the Bible had suffered incredible discomfort in his life:
Listen to his words:
'"Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength." Philippians 4: 11-13
"Are they servants of Christ? I know I sound like a madman, but I have served him far more! I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again. Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm." 2 Corinthians 11: 23-27
Action: Paul learned to be content in all these circumstances and assuredly he felt all of these struggles fully in his physical body and with all his emotions. How did he do this?
He knew who he was in Christ. He continually talked with his heavenly Father. It was all about his relationship with Christ. The action here is to practice bringing everything to Christ. Talk to him about everything, the good and the ugly. Think of ways to praise Him and to say thank you for the gifts you do have.
Prayer: Lord, I confess I have not always been content with and in my life. I have used the circumstances as an excuse to use and keep on using. Help me to tell you about this, give you the circumstances and please help me make good, wise choices even when my life is not going well, and far from what I want; when the circumstances really are not good.
Challenge: "Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12: 8-10.
My challenge for us today is to take a weakness and imagine God using this as a strength. Could you boast in this weakness so that the power of Christ can work through you?
I suffered with over 25 years of depression. In the suffering it would have been very difficult to consider this weakness as a strength. However, I have shared my journey in many places and God has used it to help others. Only in Christ.