2 Corinthians 1:8-9 the apostle Paul declares, “For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life; But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God, who raises the dead”.
Paul was being pressed out of measure in order to learn not to trust in himself, but to trust in God. There is a journey from measure to fullness that we are all on at different stages. God is doing the same work in all of our lives, but using different circumstances with each of us to bring us to His goal – Ephesians 4:13 “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.”
It is easy to declare we all want fullness, but the problem is we do not like the pressing out of measure. We do not like the sentence of death to our flesh life. We can get comfortable in measure, trusting in ourselves, but the Lord requires a daily dying in that, not the physical “coffin job”, but death to self and independence from God. Paul declared, “…..I die daily“, 1 Corinthians 15:31. My flesh life is sentenced to death because I have a divine appointment to live – Christ in me, the hope of glory!
If there is one thing I try to rid myself of, it is what I deem negative circumstances. I do not recognise it is God pressing me out of measure in order to trust Him more. Here is where my roots go down and I go deeper into God. This is God’s purpose. God allows a wilderness experience to test me, to see if what I claim to have is true and for me prove who He is.
Hosea 2: 14-15 “…I will allure her and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably to her. I will give her vineyards and the Valley of Achor for a door of hope, and she shall sing there…..” The Lord can enable me to sing in my “wilderness”. As I abandon to Him and trust Him, (the daily dying), the life of the indwelling Christ in me manifests and enables me to do His will joyfully. I can sing His praises in the wilderness of what I deem negative. Have I learnt yet to be left out and be happy about it? Can I enjoy God’s blessing on others instead of always craving it for myself? It is all part of the course. The wilderness is never my destiny, it is a place to pass THROUGH, with the deep assurance that God will never desert me, on my journey to the Promised Land of fullness. In spite of all the miracles the Israelites had witnessed from their exodus from Egypt, to the miraculous provision in the wilderness, they murmured and rebelled against God with an evil heart of unbelief. Psalm 78 records their wilderness rebellion: verse 19 “They spoke against God and said, ‘Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?’,after all they had witnessed! The children of Israel limited God in their unbelief and never entered their birthright, the Promised Land.
“Heavenly Father, please show me, by your Spirit, where I limit You in my walk. Enable me to walk, and live, worthy of You. Amen.”
When we are feeling pressed out of measure, we do well to remember Romans 8:28, “ALL things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose”.
On our journey from measure to fullness, may we learn to treasure our negatives and sing in our wilderness, as we abandon ourselves to trust our Heavenly Father in the testing. We can choose to journey ever upward and forward to the goal, that the fullness of the Son, be formed and seen, living through surrendered vessels. Pressed out of measure – of ourselves – trusting only in Jesus!