Paul went on to
describe the difference in the way he was treated as a preacher of
the gospel from the honor he enjoyed as a young rabbi: “…we
are hard-pressed on every side, but 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. 2nd Corinthians 4:8-10. This was a big change for Paul.
How did Paul handle
these stressful changes? “And since we have the same
spirit of faith, according to what is written, ‘I believed,
therefore I spoke;’” 2nd Corinthians 4:13. The key factor by which
Paul dealt with the stressful changes of life was faith.
What was the effect
of handling stressful changes by faith?
we do not lose heart, event though our outward man is perishing, yet
our inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light
affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far
more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look 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.” 2nd Corinthians 4:16-18.
Paul is telling
us that everything we experience in life can be divided into two
categories; that which is permanent and that which is temporary.
Everything we can see is temporary and will pass away. The eternal
things are invisible, but they are going to last forever.
The key to learning
how to cope with change is to focus on the things that last
forever. Change is going to come into the life of every one of us.
We can resist it and resent it, but it is still going to come.
Some may have children that will never live to be teenagers. Some
have teenagers who choose a life of behavior that will break their
hearts. Some who take for granted they have a good marriage may
hear a spouse say, “I have filed for divorce.” Some who are
doing well financially may have reverses and lose everything.
Anyone of us could contract cancer or some other dread disease
that will shorten our days. If our entire focus is on the
temporary material things that are going to pass away, these
things can pound us into a state of depression. If we focus on
eternal things we have an anchor that will hold us steady in every
There are three
special eternal things that will enable you to cope with the
stressful changes of life.
God’s Love For
You Will Never Change
Get settled in your
mind that God's love for you will never change. You ask,
"Even if I do something wrong?" Yes, because His love
for you is based on grace, not on what you deserve. We grow up
thinking that God treats us like Santa Claus. "He's make a
list, checking it twice; gonna' find out who's naughty and
nice." And we reason that if we are nice God loves us, but if
we're naughty He doesn't. No, God's love for us never changes. The
truth is that God knew all about every failure we would ever have
because of our weakness. That failure was laid on Jesus as He died
on the cross and He received the full punishment for it. It is
true that God chastens us for our failures, but He does it in love
to help us change the failures into victories. But even on our
worst days God loves us just as much as He does on our best days.
Listen carefully to what God says about His love 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?…in all these things we more than conquerors through Him
who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor
angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to
come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created
thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is
in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:35, 37 - 39.
Have you ever had a
time when you felt like the wheels were falling off; everything
was falling apart and your whole world was crashing in on you? In
times like that your greatest source of inner strength is to
remember that God's love for you will never change.
God's Promises To
You Will Never Change.
. .As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to
life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called
us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to
us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you
may be partakers of the divine nature…" 2nd Peter
If you want to
build your life on a foundation that will hold firm in the storms
of change, then build your life on the promises of God. Jesus
said, "Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine,
and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house
on the rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came,
and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it did
not fall, for it had been founded upon the rock." Matthew
7:24,25. It is a pipe dream to hope that we will be exempt from
the storms of change. They will come. It is wisdom to build on a
foundation that will not tremble beneath our feet. That foundation
is God's promises. God not only gives us promises about our
salvation and our Christian life, He also promises to be there to
help us when we need Him. "…for He Himself has said, 'I
will never leave you, nor forsake you,' so that we
may boldly say: 'The Lord is my helper, I will not fear.
What can man do to me.'" Hebrews 13:5b, 6.
Build your life on
the promises of God and when the storms of change are raging you
will have an unshakeable foundation beneath your feet.
Purpose Will Never Change
God has a plan and
He is at work in human history to bring it to pass. God had a
When He created
Adam and Eve
promised 'the seed of the woman' (the virgin born Christ)
would bruise Satan's head
When He chose a
line of people to bring the Christ into the world
The plan of God can
be traced with great clarity in the lives of Noah, Abraham,
Israel, Moses, Joshua, the judges, prophets, and kings of Israel.
The plan of God
during the church age has been described as"…God…to take
out of them a people for His name." Acts 15:14b and "that
the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, of the same body, and
partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel." Ephesians 3:6.
Evidence of that plan can be seen in that one-fourth of the planet
earth's six billion humans claim to be believers in Jesus Christ.
The scriptures tell
us that Jesus is coming to take His true believers to be with Him
while those left behind on earth experience seven years of
tribulation. Following that we are told that Jesus will return
with His believers and reign over this earth for 1000 years. Even
beyond that the scriptures tell us there will be a new heaven and
earth in which true believers will reign and serve with Christ. We
can be assured God's plan will come to pass on schedule.
God also has a plan
for each believer. The most important part of that plan is to
shape each believer more and more into the likeness of His Son,
Jesus. God is at work to use everything that comes into a
believers life to accomplish this purpose --the joys and the
sorrows…the victories and the defeats…the gains and the
losses. He makes all these things work together to accomplish that
purpose (See Romans 8:28, 29).
God also has a plan
to shape every believer for ministry. By spiritual gifts, talents,
abilities, experiences and inner heart's desire God shapes each
believer to minister to other believers. Some are also especially
gifted to minister the gospel to the unsaved. (See 1st Peter 4:10)
God has a specific
plan and purpose for your life. Regardless of the circumstances of
your birth or the experiences of your life God has a plan for you.
You can choose to cooperate with Him or not. But don't be
surprised if after living outside God's plan you don't later
decide that it would have been far better to cooperate with God.
We can help you discover God's plan for you. You will then find
that the greatest success you can have in life is to live in
harmony with God's plan.
Have major changes
or a lot of minor changes brought tension and stress into your
life. I encourage you to focus on the fact that no matter what
happens God's love for you will never change; God's promises to
you will never change, and God's eternal plans to accomplish His
purpose and His specific plans for you will never change.
If you have not yet
opened your heart to Jesus Christ and received him as your Savior,
I encourage you to do so today. It will be your first and most
important step in coping with change.