Troubled But Not Distressed

Troubled But Not Distressed

By Henry Nelson

 

 

 

  Psalms 50:17 “Call upon me in the day of trouble and I will deliver you and you will honor me, says the Lord.” I got an email message the other day concerning the writing of the weekly message. I got troubled about it, but I did not get distressed. I knew it was the devil interfering in Gods business so I just moved on. Paul reminds us that even though you may think you are at the end of your rope, you are never without hope. Paul faced all kinds of troubles, hardships and adversity for the sake of the Lord Jesus and His kingdom’s ministries. Regardless of the risks, humiliations and trials you can see all of these as opportunities for Jesus to demonstrate His greater power, purpose and plan in and through us for His greater glory.Too many people fall in to the trap of feeling like they are a victim of their circumstances. An article I read in US News and World Report said: “Expert victimologists estimate that 91.2% of people in North America and Europe now qualify as victims, at least in their own minds. This is because hurt feelings keep spreading, and “society” keeps grinding us down. Some examples included: Two student groups wanted to sponsor a pig roast at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams. School authorities said no because the event might offend vegetarians.{{more}}Another example was a high school student in Trento Italy, faced with the prospect of having to repeat her junior year because she failed math, hired a lawyer who argued that she was suffering from “irreversible psychological pathology,” or math phobia. A regional court ruled that the condition made it impossible for her to study or master math and allowed the school to move her directly into the senior year. Paul teaches us how not to be troubled on every side without giving in to distress through the empowering of the Holy Spirit. Here are a few guidelines for overcoming trouble instead of allowing yourself to become a victim of your troubles: 1. Reverence: Praise God for the trouble He has allowed in your life as He knows what is best in every situation. David wrote in Psalm 46:1-4 “God is our refuge and strength. A very present help in the time of trouble. Therefore, we will not fear. Though the earth be removed and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea. Thought the waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. There is a river the streams thereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.”Amen! 2. Rest: Praise God and realize that our God is sovereign who can do whatever He pleases. It is the right for a sovereign, omnipotent, and omniscient God to know how trouble will work for the good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose. God is on the throne He does whatever He pleases. Job was able to say, “Though he slay me yet will I praise Him.” Praising God helps us draw upon the goodness, love and all sufficient grace of Christ so that we are able to rejoice in our infirmities for when we are weak, then He is strong. The less we have the more we depend on Him for our strength, hope and will in our lives.3. Relinquish your rights: Paul wrote in 2nd Corinthians 4:11, “For we which live are always delivered to death for Jesus sake that the life of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.” Amen!You need to release all your rights to comfort, pleasures and prideful self-justice. Even though Paul knew that humanly speaking, he did not deserve to be troubled for doing good, he followed the example of Jesus who though He was rich He became poor that we through His poverty might be rich. Paul wrote, “All who live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer tribulation.” Be willing to give up your personal desires realizing that trouble, persecution and tribulation are a part of growing in Christ. Jesus said in Matthew 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Amen! “The poor is from the Greek ptokas, a noun that means poor in this world’s goods; a beggar, desperately ashamed even to allow his identity to be known. It is not just poor, it is begging poor. He is absolutely incapable, totally dependent on grace. “In spirit means with reference to the inner man not the body. That is all. He is begging on the inside, not necessarily on the outside.  Psalms 34:18 says, “The Lord is near to brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalms 51:17 says, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God. You will not despise.” God identifies with people who beg on the inside, not people who are self-sufficient, not people who think they can work out their own salvation. Poor in spirit does not mean lazy or quiet or indifferent or lacking enthusiasm or passive. A poor in spirit individual is one with no sense of self-sufficiency.”Paul wrote in Romans 5: 1-5, “We rejoice in our tribulations knowing that the tribulation works perseverance and perseverance proven character and proven character hope. And hope does not disappoint for the love of God is poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who is given to us.”  Amen! Let the Holy Spirit work a greater appreciation of God’s love for you as a result of taking through all the troubles of life. Amen!4. Re-examine- See if there is any area where you need to grow in Christ like attitudes, outlooks or reactions to trouble. David wrote in Psalm 19:23-24 “Search me O God and know my heart. Try me and know my anxious thoughts. And see if there be any wicked way in me. And lead me in the everlasting way.” There are times when we need to re-evaluate our motives, attitudes and actions so that we can humble ourselves under God’s hand to become more like the Master in every way, in every situation and with everyone.5. Readjust: The Holy Spirit gives us an amazing ability to readjust to all kinds of troubling situations. Paul wrote, “We are pressed but not crushed, perplexed by not in despair, persecuted but not abandoned, put down but not put out that the life of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. Romans 12:21 says,” Let us ask the Holy Spirit to work in us this overcoming attitude despite the severity of our hardships. Let us follow in the example of Paul who was a living example of one of his themes: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”Ask the Lord to grant you the serenity to accept the things you cannot change, the courage to change the things you can and the wisdom to know the difference.6.Replace trouble with His triumphs: Let the troubles you are going through produce a greater fruit of righteousness, godliness, faith, love and purity. Paul wrote in 2nd Corinthians 4:18, “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” Ask the Lord to give you encouragement that He is helping to enrich your perspective with more of an eternal than temporal outlook, perception and insight. Amen!7. Refer to the truth: When you are facing trouble it is essential that you meditate on scripture. The Bible gives us the power, purpose and prevailing grace to go through any trial successfully. When Jesus was tempted by the devil in the desert, He victoriously used the truth to overcome evil with the power of God’s word. Command evil to depart with the power of sword of the Spirit which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:16 says, “Take up the shield of faith so that you can quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.” Be willing to speak the truth in love so that everyone around you can experience the growth in all aspects into Christ8. Paul told Timothy, “Remember Jesus Christ.” It is only when we forget Jesus and His promises that we allow trouble to make us bitter rather than better. Rejoice in Jesus Christ. Thank Jesus for all that He is as your strength and shield. Pray to Jesus as the one who is able to deliver you from any trouble. 2nd Peter 1:6-7 says, “We should not think it strange that we are going through fiery trials, but know that they are working for us a far greater reward than gold.” Amen! 9 Reconsider the fact that you are already an overwhelming conqueror through Him who loves you. People who allow troubles to get to them personally and cause distress, discouragement and defeat fail to appropriate the fact they are already conquerors through Christ Jesus who loves them. Paul wrote in Romans 8:34-37 “Who is he that condemns? It is Christ that died, yes rather is risen again who sits at the right hand of God making intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or peril or sword? We are considered as sheep for the slaughter. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.” Amen!Let us appropriate the fact that we are more than conquerors by living victoriously with confidence, with assurance and with vibrance fitting for a conqueror. Too many Christians forget who they are in Christ and consequently live in defeat rather than in victory. Now you know why I was troubled, but not distressed. Amen!