The apostle Paul, addressing the Corinthian church, described how he and his co-workers often found themselves “pressed out of measure”,  2 Corinthians 1:8.  Although we live in an earthly kingdom, our kingdom, as Believers, is not of this world.  We serve a higher authority, King Jesus, and the government is on His shoulders, (Isaiah 9:6).  Whatever my circumstances are, God is present with me.  He has promised to “never leave nor forsake me”, (Hebrews 13:5).

I must not allow negative feelings in the pressing out of measure dictate to me.  God is my compass and my “ever present help”.  Ultimately, God is in control of my circumstances and will use anything to draw me closer to Him.  When I have stopped “kicking against the pricks” (Acts 9:5) of lockdown in this current crisis, I discover God is using it for His divine purposes.  Jesus said , Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God”,….in some things?……no!……in all things.   God has not lost control of the universe.  He permits, in His wisdom, what He could prevent, in His power.  Now is the time to get in pace with God and see what He is doing through all this pressing out of measure.

What God takes from us, it is gain to lose.  In current circumstances, God is allowing a lot to be taken from us.  The world and Believers have been stripped of all we indulged ourselves in.  The Economy is governed by consumerism.  How much have we consumed on our indulgences?

1 Timothy 6: 6-8 “Godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing in to this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.  And having food and raiment let us therewith be content”.  How many of us are content with just food and raiment?  We have been stripped of all our “wants”.  The Lord promised to supply all our needs, not our wants!

Paul arrived at this position: “…..I have learned , in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both…..to abound and to suffer need.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.  Philippians 4: 11-13

My real need is more of God.  The world’s need is to know Jesus as their Saviour.

Most Christians we know have drawn closer to God, got deeper in to His Word in this crisis.  We are having something by compulsion that we should have had by choice!  We are proving we can live without all our indulgences.  It is time to re-evaluate what God requires of us as Believers.  God has given us “all things richly to enjoy”, but when we put them in first place before Him, it becomes an idol and God is righteously jealous.

Jesus said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you,”  Matthew 6: 33.

We have taken so many of His blessings to indulge ourselves and lost His purpose in people and community.  Have I also forgotten my Heavenly Father’s greatest desire which is to have deep fellowship with me every day?

My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, a building brick in the greater Body of Christ, the House of God, with Christ as the Head in that body of Believers.  The House of God, God’s purpose for His people, has so often been sullied with divisions and schisms.  God will not bless disunity……God “leaves the building” and removes His anointing.  God is bringing His House back to His order:…….That God will tabernacle (dwell) with men and that we shall live in His presence.

2 Corinthians 6: 16-17 “What agreement has the temple of God with idols?  For you are the temple of the living God, as God has said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. ” (This is God’s divine purpose, His heart longs for fellowship with us in everything, every day).   “Wherefore come out from among them, and be separate, says the Lord, touch not the unclean thing and I will receive you”.  

When our eyes are on the Lord, we worship Him for who He is, not for the blessings He gives us.  Our circumstances become secondary to our fellowship with Him.  When I unite my heart with God’s heart, I find peace in spite of the storm.  As the ancient hymn writer wrote “There is a place of quiet rest, near to the heart of God”……..nothing can molest or sully when I abandon control of my life, thoughts and feelings to Him.

Pressed out of measure……but INTO God.  Shut in with God!  It is time to leave the familiar comfort zones I have hung on to and abandon the safety of the shore…….for the vast ocean of God’s purposes and provision.  Remember, what God takes from me, is gain to lose.   My times are in His hands (Psalm 31:15)  God is moving on…..doing a new thing…..let us get on board with His programme, repent of making ministry an identity and walk in our true identity of Jesus Christ, the servant King.