"Bruised But Not Broken"
RWM SERMON- 04-22-09 Bruised But Not Broken
Bishop Rick Wallace
“We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed-” (2 Cor. 4:8,9)
Through the constant intake, digestion, metabolism, and inculcation of Bible doctrine conjoined with the experiential discovery associated with life itself, I have come to this unavoidable and undeniable conclusion-There is no circumvention of life’s trials and sufferings. Each man will face his share; both believer and unbeliever alike, will inevitably travel through the vicissitudes of life.
The lengths that people go to attempting to avoid adversity, conflict, and overall suffering never ceases to amaze me. It seems to be hardwired in our DNA. As soon as the ambient temperature of life is raised several degrees, the shuffle of discontent begins. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that we should have a longing to endure sufferings. There are those who are of this type, but that is an entirely different issue to be discussed at another time. What I am saying is, as Christians, we are to be cognizant of the fact that life is composed of moments in which we find ourselves with our backs against the wall. There are times when the storms of life are vehemently raging and the clouds of darkness have rolled in. We are warned incessantly in scripture that there will be trials:
“Many are the afflictions of the righteous......” (Ps 34:19)
“...In the world you will have tribulation....” (John 16:33)
“...you have been grieved by various trials.” (1 Pet 1:6)
My grandfather used to tell me that in this life, we are one of three places; going into a storm, in a storm, or coming out of one. To some, this may come as somewhat of a shock. There are multitudinous believers who have been bombarded and inundated with erroneous doctrines; doctrines that breed hopes of a life of ease and prosperity with no resistance or adversity, yet, these doctrines are not scripturally grounded and are thereby inaccurate. The Word does promise that we will be prospered in every aspect of our lives. What it does not promise is that this prosperity comes without struggle, confrontation, and spiritual warfare.
John 16:33 says, “These things I have spoken to you that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.” Here, our Lord promised peace, but not in the sense of a euphoric life, absent of pain and suffering, but peace despite the struggles. This peace is birthed and sustained in the knowledge that the very one who resides in us has overcome the world and through Him, we have become more than conquerors. (Rom 8:37)
We can delineate from the aforementioned facts, the following:
-We are going to face trials and tribulations in these lives of ours. This is an unavoidable fact.
-Our status as heirs in the Royal Family of the Most High does not, in anyway, exempt us from struggles. In fact, our association with Christ may serve to intensify our trials as well as increase their frequency. The enemy will attack.
-The believer can still have peace, even in the midst of the storm. As a matter of fact, the believer glorifies God through the peace and confidence he exudes in the face of adversity.
Since we know that the trials of life are inevitable, how do we respond to these struggles? We are to be steadfast in our faith; never wavering in our trust in God. We are to glorify God through our fixity in purpose, our determination to stand, and resolve to press forward. We are to continue in praise, the joyous uplifting of the glorious name of God. We are to walk in victory. For the reward is great.
‘For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”(Rom. 8:18)
Paul tells us that no matter what we may be dealing with, it cannot be compared to what God has in store for us. This is an awesome revelation.
As I survey my life, I have arrived at this conclusion: I’ve been hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; I’ve been perplexed, yet, I have hope; I’ve been persecuted, but not forsaken, I’ve been struck down, but not destroyed -I’ve been bruised, but not broken.
Struck down, but not destroyed, in essence, says, I’ve taken every attack, every heartache, every disappointment, every struggle, and yet, I’m still standing. The foundation has been shaken, but remains in tact. This becomes a perpetual confirmation of God’s power to sustain. As my mind cascades through the memories of moments in which the omnipotent hand of God reached into my circumstances and calmed the stormy seas of discontent. As I reminisce on the many times that the dark clouds of defeat rolled in, but God’s precious and beloved voice spoke the sweet words of victory, I can’t help but retort, I’ve been bruised, but not broken. I have come through many storms, but I’m still standing.
At this point, I will assume an unorthodox perspective. The norm would be to focus on the end (result), the fact that I’m still standing. It is common practice to focus on the end result with little or no regard for the means through which the end was reached. There are even those who hold the philosophy that the end justifies the means; arguing that reaching the desired result sometimes calls for radical or extreme measures that extend beyond that which would normally be considered unacceptable. However, in this case, the means which supplied the end is of far greater importance than the end itself. In other words, the focus is not solely on the fact that I’m still standing, as much as it is on the through “whom” I’m still standing. Through this unorthodox approach, I am focused more on the source of my victory than the victory itself. I do not lose sight of the victory, I simply acknowledge the source of triumph.
Why is this approach so vital? It is vital because our cognizance of the source allows us to tap into the source and rely on the source to deliver the same results time and time again. To focus on the end result only provides transitory elation, happiness of the moment. The one thing experience has taught me is that Satan is never deterred by defeat. He will regroup and he will be back. This means that we must remain vigilant as well as knowledgeable and conversant of the source of our victories. We must never lose touch with the one that keepeth us all. When you have a true and real connection to the source of your current victory, your present reality, you can face what lies ahead with confidence and anticipation of the end result; God will deliver!
My peace comes from the knowledge that God is with me at every turn. In Matthew 28:20 Jesus says,”...lo I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” In this I know that though the storm clouds rise and the winds blow, I’m not alone. No matter where you are in your life as a believer, no matter how frustrating the moment. The Lord is with you. He has promised never to leave nor forsake his own.
“For the eyes of the Lord run to and from throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.....” (2 Chronicles 16:9)
So, as we fall under the pernicious attacks of the enemy, rest in the confidence of the fact that God is at your side. Know that the amelioration of the troubled moment is within the radical and awesome power of God. Know that even in the dimmest of moments, you need only stand still.
“Be still and know that I am God...” (Ps 46:10)
We serve an able God that is true to His Word. What God has promised, He will perform (Rom 4:21), Isa 55:11). We are never without help, we are never without strength, we are never without hope. As long as you continue to lean and depend on Christ, you will continue to stand. You may be, at this very moment, enduring the most horrific and virulent of attacks. You may be at the end of your rope, struggling to keep your head above water. It may seam that the acrimonious environment in which you now reside is ever so slowly draining you of life. Know this: God is still a God of deliverance. He is the same God that brought the Israelites out of Egypt. He is the same God that delivered Sharach, Meshach, and Abed-Mego from the fiery furnace. He is the same God that made Gideon a mighty man of valor. He is the same God that made the sun stand still for Joshua. He is the same God that sent chariots of fire to protect Elisha from the Syrian Army, and he will deliver you.
Your heart may be heavy, burdened with disappointments, yet, you must continue to trust in God who saves the upright at heart. I have accepted the fact that Satan is an inexorable foe; he will not relent in his attacks against the children of God. I take solace in the fact that the Lord will not leave me in the hands of the enemy. I stand confident in my savior’s ability and willingness to deliver me out of each and every struggle. I invite you join me in this same state of mind; Not only trusting God to deliver, knowing that He will bring us through intact.
It is now that I urge you to stand in Christ, the very source of your strength. There will be those around you that write you off as you traverse the valley of death and despair. They have, through their human rationale, become convinced that your present trial will consume and destroy you. They have already began to spread word of your demise. Your obituary is being written behind your back. Don’t succumb to the negative forces around you. Don’t allow nay Sayers to determine the outcome. Stand on your most holy faith. Stand on God’s precious promises. Allow the power of hope to embrace and caress you. Abide in the sanctuary of God’s power. Speak in the words of King David, yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. Why? You are with me.
Well, Bishop, all of that tough talk is easier said than done. My problems are real and my options are few. Bruised, but not broken is a catchy phrase. It sounds good when you say it, but how does it help me now? Well, I’m glad you asked. Let’s see what Jeremiah had to say about the issue.
“...I said, “My strength and my hope have perished from the Lord. My soul still remembers (the goodness and mercy of God)....This I recall to mind, therefore I have hope.(Lam 3:18, 20,21 emphasis added)
Jeremiah has almost given up hope, but even as he gazed into the visible evidence of a nation under divine discipline and judgement he regains his footing and reestablishes his grasp on hope. How does he do this? He recalls to mind the mercy of God in past situations. He recalls God’s covenant of compassion expressed in His mercy that even when we are sinking in the consequences of our own actions, He delivers. Jeremiah remembers God’s word to Soloman: “if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn away from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
You too, are to recall all the times God brought you through. Every time there seemed to be no way out, but God showed up just in the nick of time. This is where you find hope, this is where you gain strength. You will be able to examine your self and say with confidence, I’ve been bruised, but not broken.
-I’m facing the toughest trial of my life, but I’m not broken.
-Forsaken by friends, but I’m not broken.
-Down to my last dime, but I’m not broken.
-Pressure closing in on every side, but I’m not broken.
-Don’t know what tomorrow holds, but I’m not broken.
As I survey my life, I can truly say, I’ve been bruised but not broken. I’ve been through the storm and the rain but I’ve made it.
As soldiers in this Christian Army we must face the reality that we will face many hard trials. Yet, we can face each storm with the calm assurance that though we have been battered, we are never defeated.
Though the storm is raging and the billows are tossing high, we are still standing. I don’t know about you, but I can say with Paul, I’ve been hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; I’ve been perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed -My friends, I’ve been bruised, but not broken.
Satan has taken his best shot, but we are still standing.
He has attacked in every possible way, but we know that “no weapon formed against us shall prosper.”
He has painted illusions of loneliness, but God has promised never to leave nor forsake us.
Satan has attempted to drain us of every ounce of strength, but God’s grace is sufficient.
Yes, it’s been tough, but there comes a time in the life of every believer that we must face the enemy with an inexorable confidence and declare: I’ve been bruised, but not broken.
May God bless and keep you!
Bishop Rick Wallace
Founder & President
Rick Wallace Ministries
100 Men Of Purpose
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