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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1126

Why is Life So Hard?
Part One

May 4, 2014

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1126 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: I don’t know, I’ve had some very distinct thoughts, and I’m just gonna trust God with them. I doubt that I’m gonna say anything that probably hasn’t been said before, but it’s not the stuff that goes into our head that matters. It’s the stuff that really becomes part of our life that matters.

And, I see the Lord working down a certain line of thought, a pattern of thinking that His design is to use to break us out of a lot of prison houses that we’ve been in through our own misunderstanding of a lot of truth. But I’d like to use…I like to just kind of take off from a familiar scripture. And I really believe with all my heart there is a lot of misunderstanding that’s kind of implicit in the way we read this verse. And it’s in 1st Corinthians chapter 10.

The context here is where Paul is talking about the fact that we’re not under law and we have freedom in Christ, but we’re to use that freedom aright, to help one another, to walk in victory over sin and the flesh, not to yield to temptation and all of those things. But it’s in the context, he warns in verse 12, it says, “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!”

There’s no place for complacency, and just supposing that we’ve gotten to a certain level now and we can coast and everything’s gonna be cool. There’s no such place in this world. That doesn’t mean that God wants us to live in a state of fear, but it does mean He wants us to live in a state of understanding and walking and getting the real picture.

But then he says this, and it’s often been a comfort to all of us at one time or another. “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

Now thank God. That’s a wonderful verse, and any Christian who has lived with the Lord any length of time has come to a place where you have found the need for this verse and realized, first of all, you’re not alone, you’re not unique. God hasn’t singled you out if you’re having a tough time. I guess, in a way, if you had to put a title to this, it would be, ‘why is life so difficult’, or ‘why is life so tough’, or I guess, ‘why is life so hard’. Let’s make it simpler on the guys that have to write the title. “Why Is Life So Hard?”

But here’s how I think we, without intending to, sometimes read this verse. We imagine that God understands that we have, we possess a certain amount of strength. And God knows how much strength we have, and so He measures out the trials and the difficulties that He allows in our lives based upon His knowledge of our strength. Does that sound familiar? Anybody ever read it that way?

( congregational response ).

Yeah. That’s backwards. That’s not right. That is absolutely wrong. Here’s where we get this. We think in natural terms. We think of a child born into this world who has at any stage of their growth, they have certain capabilities. And we understand that if that child is going to grow up to be strong, to be functional as an adult, that they’re going to have to grow, and so lessons of one kind or another are measured out to them.

But they always have to take into consideration where they’re at. You don’t try to teach calculus to the average four year-old, or quantum theory, or what have you. You understand where they’re at. You don’t give them a 200 pound barbell and say, ‘lift this, come on what’s the matter with you?’ You understand that they have a certain amount of strength and so you work within the confines of where they’re at. And obviously you challenge them to grow, but you’re always dealing with a certain reservoir of strength and ability that we possess naturally at any given point in our life.

Well, we kind of tend, without thinking about it, to transfer that kind of thinking into the Christian life. And what we wind up doing is treating God almost like an emergency generator…that life deals difficult circumstances to us and what God expects from us is that we just try as hard as we can for as long as we can, and then when we have run out, then it’s time for Him to…then we turn to Him, and then we look to Him and say, okay, God, I’ve gone as far as I can go. Now You take over. Help me out here. We see God as addition to our strength. We see Him as filling in the gaps in our strength.

( congregational response ).

With all my heart, I believe that is absolutely a wrong, wrong picture. Think about the things the Lord has been saying lately. My God, do we rely upon ourselves without thinking about it! And we suppose that when it says that God does not give us more than we can bear, He’s doing just like we should do with a child. We don’t expect more out of them than we know that they’re capable of doing.

Well, you know, how would you reconcile that Scripture with the one that we have referred to a number of times in 2nd Corinthians chapter 1? And Paul begins in verse 3. I’ll just read the passage. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives….”

Does that sound familiar? We’ve been called to suffer for Him that we may reign with Him. And it’s the sufferings of Christ that literally are flowing over into us. That kind of means that we’re connected to Him, doesn’t it? We’re part of Him. There is a real living relationship. The Life that’s in Him and the experience that’s in Him flows over into us. “…So also through Christ our comfort overflows.” So we get both. We get the trouble, but we get the comfort that comes with it.

“If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure….”

Now, think about that in the light of the other scripture we just read. God will not…we have a way of saying it…God will not put more on us than we can bear. And here’s Paul saying, God put me in a place where I was far beyond my ability. Now what’s going on? Is the Bible contradicting itself? Or are we, perhaps, misunderstanding the way that God has called us to live the Christian life?

Oh my God, I am so tired of trying to live in my own strength, and when I run out, I say, okay God, help me out now. Our default position needs to be, Lord, I can’t do anything! And God is so faithful that when He challenges us, when He puts us in situations, it’s not designed to kick in the emergency generator. It’s designed to remind us and to teach us exactly what Paul says here.

“…We despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.” Do you see this constant sense that God is going to be instituting whatever it takes in our individual lives to bring us to that place where we get it!

Finally, okay God, I get it. You have not called me to live by any resource that I call upon in here. It’s just…I have to absolutely declare complete bankruptcy. Lord, it’s not me anymore, it’s got to be You. I mean, to open my eyes, and to get up in the morning, and to do the things that I do, I need You to do that in me! No longer is my life struggling and trying, and struggling and trying, and then saying, okay God, I’ve done the best I can. Now help me out here!

If life is hard, maybe, just maybe, this is something that the Lord is seeking to teach. Can you imagine why He might do such a thing? Do you think maybe, just maybe, He is longing to bringing us into a place of greater rest? Man, it’s tough, given what we’re up against, to labor on, to strive, to try, to try, to try, and then finally, finally, we run out of gas, after we’ve expended all that energy and accomplished exactly nothing. What a horrible way to live! But don’t we all do it?

( congregational response ).

Oh, let’s open our eyes and hear God’s heart in these things, and say, Lord, teach me Your ways. God, deliver me from this kind of a self-driven life that I’m trying so hard to be a Christian and it just…oh God, help me. Lord, I know You won’t put more on me than I can bear!

Yes, He will…if you’re talking about your strength, yes He will! The Bible is full of examples of testimonies where God has absolutely thrown His people in the proverbial deep end of the pool, and He’s done it out of His love and mercy! He’s done it to seek to teach people how to trust in Him, and to realize that nothing they can do is going to accomplish His purpose and His will. He’s done it to give a testimony to who He is, to lift up his name before others that they may understand that He is a God of all grace, that there’s nothing impossible to Him!

Lord, I need this! I need this! We all, by nature, struggle, and strive, and fear, and try and…it’s the default. We don’t think about it! You know, we read this with carnal understanding. Okay God, You know how much strength I’ve got. I’m counting on You not to push me beyond that. You know what I can take.

We sort of imagine David, when the Lord is preparing him for the throne, He sends out the bear one day…and we sort of imagine the Lord saying, David doesn’t really think much of himself. He doesn’t know what he’s got in him. There’s greatness in that young man and I see it. So I’m gonna send a bear out because I know that if he’ll just dig really down deep, he’s gonna discover that he’s got resources that can rise up and deal with that situation!

You see, that’s the way the world thinks. You’ve got greatness in you, and oh, if you’ll just reach down deep, you’ll find it, you’ll discover it. I’ll tell you, if you reach down deep in you, you’re gonna find nothing when it comes to the Kingdom of God. We need Him.

( congregational amens ).

Do you know we were…I see this more and more up here [pointing to head]. I want to see it here [pointing to heart]. But it goes right to the very nature of things. It goes right back to the way that we were created to function. Somehow we imagine that we are capable individuals, separate, unique, and all that stuff. And, if we’re gonna have a relationship with God, it’s Him and it’s me.

Do you know we were not created to function independently? We were created to be inhabited by God Himself, that the life, the character that we exhibit, the abilities that we exhibit, everything is an expression of Him. Does that rub across the human spirit just a little bit?

( congregational inaudible ).

See what happened in the beginning was they wanted to have an independent kind of deity, if you will. “…Ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” (KJV). And ever since, that’s the way we have thought, that’s our default. Oh God, I’m an individual! I’m me, I’m unique. And somehow the devil will paint that idea of our dependence upon God and Him living through us…well what He really wants is for me just to be a puppet. If I come into that kind of a relationship, it’s not gonna be me anymore, it’s just gonna be Him making a little puppet out of me, and I’m not gonna have any personality, any individuality…all that’s gonna be gone and I’m just gonna be a little robot.

Oh, it’s just the opposite! Everything you and I were created to be, will come to its greatest expression and fruition when we are energized by the God of the universe. What is the alternative? The alternative is, we are going to be driven, we are going to be energized by a spirit of rebellion against Him that is self-willed, self-seeking, self-pleasing, and that life will drive us right to destruction! Yeah, we’ll be individuals! By God, nobody’s gonna tell me what to do…yeah, sure! But He made me and He made you special and unique. He gave you your own particular personality, your own particular abilities. Do you think He’s gonna come in and just obliterate that, and say, none of that matters? No! He is the energy, He is the very life of everything!

( congregational amens ).

And my greatest fulfillment as a person will be to the extent that He lives in me and it’s His Spirit driving what I do! God, I hope I’m listening to this!

( laughter ).

We fight against this! We struggle against it! We try to be our man, our own woman…when all God wants of us is to learn how to rest in Him, to just receive His life, and let it flourish! And I’ll tell you, you’re not gonna be some kind of a clone. You’re gonna be you…but you’re gonna be the best you that you could ever think about. God’s gonna…He didn’t give you all the individual things about yourself to just obliterate them. Oh, He’s gonna breathe life into all the things that He has given to you and all the things that’s He’s made you.

Think about Jesus. You know, how many times have we pointed out the way He lived His earthly life? He didn’t live it as some kind of a divine being with His own power and capabilities. He didn’t walk on the water because He could just do it! He lived as a man. He was as dependent upon His Father as we are called to be.

That’s hard to wrap your mind around. I know theology has its own concepts, but boy, you read your Bible and you will see Someone who cried, “…with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death” [Heb. 5:7]. You’ll see Somebody that had to pray. You’ll see Somebody that said, I don’t do anything of myself, it’s the Father who dwells in me. I am in the Father and He is in me.

Everything about Him was meant to portray to us how God intended that we live! It was the Father in Him who made Him what He was, who gave Him the abilities that He had. And how He taught that it was the Father’s plan for…it’s I in you, and you in Me, and I in Him. And there’s this absolute connection of life that flows into His Son. God has given us Life. That’s the record isn’t it?

( congregational response ).

Where is that life?

( congregational response ).

It’s in His Son! Well then, He that has the Son, has…

( congregational response ).

…Life, because life is in Him. That’s God’s plan. It’s God’s plan for me to depend upon His Life to live according to that life and that strength. But I do not default to that. Does anybody here? We just don’t do it! We see Jesus doing it.

You know, there’s a scripture that’s come to me a number of times over the years, and it’s an amazing little phrase that’s dropped into Hebrews. Let’s see if I can find it. I looked it up last night. Yeah, Hebrews chapter 9. It’s talking about Christ as the great High Priest who fulfilled all the types and shadows of the Old Testament. He was the one sacrifice forever that put away sins!

But there’s a scripture here that talks about how He did that! How did He become that unblemished Lamb, that pure, holy sacrifice that was able to do the job that you and I needed doing? How did He do that? If I can find the verse, I’ll tell you!

Verse 14 of chapter 9, “How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God….” (NIV). Now why didn’t it just say, ‘how much more then, will the blood of Christ, who offered himself unblemished to God…cleanse our consciences and so forth? Why didn’t he say that? Why did he drop that little phrase in there? “…Who through the eternal Spirit…” Do you think that’s important? Do you think God put that in there for a reason?

( congregational response ).

Does that give you a little insight into how Jesus was able to do what He did…why He prayed in the garden, Lord, if it’s possible, take this cup, “…nevertheless not My will, but Thine, be done.” (KJV). And He cried and He prayed, and it was like three hours of agonizing prayer. And finally, what does the scripture say? Angels came and strengthened Him!

Do you think that what He did could be done by any mortal man? No! God was in Him! He understood that without the Father, I can do nothing! He got it! He lived His entire life with the understanding, I can’t do anything. Father, You’re just gonna have to live in Me. You’re My strength. We sing it all the time.

( singing ).

“You are my strength.” And then we go out and do it ourselves, until we run out of gas. And then we say, okay, Lord, help me out here. Or, why did You do this to me, Lord? Don’t You know, You promised You wouldn’t put more on me than I could bear? And this is really getting hard!

God is gonna put us in the deep end of the pool, not to destroy us, not to discourage us, but to break that grip, that iron grip that we have on self and self-effort! God help us! You look from one end of Scriptures to the other and you will see God putting His people in impossible situations!

How do you put that in the context of what he says…the way we take chapter 10, verse 13, or whatever it is, 13. ‘He won’t put more on us than we can bear.’ Well, He sure did, plenty of times. The Scripture is full of God putting people in situations that they could not handle! How do you reconcile that with this Scripture, or do we maybe misunderstand?

I think you know the answer. We misunderstand. Oh, how good God is to His people. How patient He is to teach us! ‘Cause He does know where we’re at. He gets it! He, more than any other being, He understands exactly where we’re at. We’re His children! He loves us! He’s not mad at us in this process of learning! But oh, is He faithful to work according to our needs!

Are you in a place life is hard right now? What’s going on? Is God not faithful to His promises? God is absolutely faithful to His promises! There is a place of rest. There is a place in God where rest is complete. I’ll tell you, I want to experience that more and more. I have moments when I think God is really opening my eyes and He’s saying, you really can rest in Me. Look, I know you can’t do any of these things, but I can. Don’t we need this, folks?

( congregational response ).

Don’t you and I need this every single day? How is that we can read a Scripture where Jesus said, without me you can do…

— Congregation: Nothing.

­— Brother Phil Enlow: And then we go out and we try to do stuff! And we wonder, what’s wrong? God, You’re not being fair to me. I don’t get this. Then we come back into church and we hear, “…without me ye can do nothing.” (KJV). And then we go out and we do the same thing, and round and around and around we go! You think maybe the Lord really, actually means that? Oh, praise God. I believe with all my heart that He does.

As I say, you can grow from one end of Scripture to the other, and you’ll see saints of God, I mean, you think of Moses and how dire the situation got there in Egypt. He waited ‘til the oppression of Pharaoh was just so heavy. He sent a guy who had no self-confidence, gave him a stick, and said, go deliver My people.

Does that kind of sound like maybe I need the Lord a little bit? Talk about ridiculously impossible! But, that’s how God did it. Man, He wanted them to get it. Moses, at one time was over-run with self-confidence and zeal to get the job done, and God couldn’t use him that way.

Do you think maybe that’s the reason God is doing some of the things in our lives? Because He knows that a lot of stuff we’re doing, man, we’re doing it! In our own energy and in our own zeal, we’re trying to get God’s job done for Him! We’re trying to help Him out!

And He is relentlessly working to bring us to that place where, okay, ‘now I’ll do it’. Just trust Me. Wait on Me. Work with Me. Yield to Me. I know how to do it. I know when to do it. I know what to do, and you don’t. I’m not depending, the Lord is saying, on anything in you. It doesn’t matter how smart you are, and how strong, and how physically able, and all these things. That has nothing to do with it. I’m able. I just want somebody who’s ready to humble himself, come as they are, and trust Me, and I can do what needs doing.

Well, Moses struggled along and, of course, you remember the first time he goes back and demands, “…Let my people go…who is the Lord, that I should obey Him…?” (NIV). And things got worse. Have you ever taken a stand for the Lord and it got worse?

( congregational response ).

Have you ever not taken a stand for the Lord and you not have it get worse?

( laughing ).

( laughter ).

Well, anyway, you know what I’m trying to say. Yeah, that’s kind of an indicator that the devil is getting a little upset and a little concerned. He’s kind of had you in a certain place, and now whoa, my place is threatened here. I’d better dig in and discourage them. Make them think they’re on the wrong track.

No, you’re not on the wrong track. That’s where we have to take our stand in Him and trust Him to absolutely fight the battle for us, because it is not our battle! You think about that relationship that He described where we are literally a part of Him? Does that not make it His battle? He’s not fighting for us! He’s fighting for Him! Because we’re part of Him!