Second, I know God loves me. When I doubt someone loves me and my life experience with that person becomes difficult, I begin to believe he does not have my best interests in mind. In fact, I become suspicious that he may not care at all--or worse, is trying to do me in. Yet if I have confidence in the person's love for me, I will stick it out despite the bumps in our relationship. I know that something greater is going to emerge out of the current challenge.
Paul was in prison, yet he was encouraging the Philippians. How can you inspire others when you yourself are in a disastrous situation? At the end of his letter, Paul spells out the answer. He says he had learned to be content no matter what his circumstances were. Note that he didn't say the ability to be content had suddenly been imparted to him; it was something he learned.
He writes: "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" (Phil. 4:11-14, NLT).
Learning is a process and involves a particular type of education that enhances our lives in some way. Here Paul is referring to spiritual understanding that comes through living a life of knowing God in both the highs and the lows of life. Paul knew God--he had intimate knowledge of and experience with Him that created an attitude of trust and confidence in being loved.
So Paul became consistent in his life, not believing one day and doubting the next depending on his circumstances. He was reliable, steady, dependable, constant and unswerving. Why? He had learned He could do anything, go through anything and survive anything that came His way because of Christ within Him giving Him strength.
Paul also said, "Christ in us, the hope of glory!" Your life, my life is about a glory being released in us and through us. It's about the glory realm.
The word "glory" in Greek means dignity, honor, praise, worship; its root word means "to be of reputation." Christ's reputation is being heralded through our lives. Because He dwells in us, others are led to Him. As Paul said, we become the very fragrance of Christ.
But it's not in the smooth places in life that His glory is best manifested; it's in the midst of trouble that people find out who you and I really are. If we can't say with Paul that we have "learned how to be content with whatever [we] have," then the next step in our educational process is to learn a lesson about who God really is when the chips are down. He will then work a new glory in us. At the end of the "new day," I believe the bottom line is the manifestation of His glory in and through us.
Today, whether you are trying to salvage what's left of your flooded home; find a new occupation because you can no longer fish in oil-polluted waters; rebuild after a hurricane, tornado or earthquake; regain peace after the loss of a loved one; or recover from the results of any other disaster in your life, remember: You can be a carrier of the glory, not only on the other side of trouble, but in the midst of it.
About the author: Barbara J. Yoder is the founder and senior pastor of Shekinah Christian Church (shekinahchurch.org) in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and is known for her cutting-edge apostolic and prophetic breakthrough ministry. She travels nationally and internationally ministering in churches, conferences and seminars. Yoder is the author of several books, including Taking on Goliath (Charisma House). To order a copy of the book, click here. This article was adapted from an entry titled "The Glory Realm" that appeared on her blog page at barbarayoderblog.com.
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