When my children were little I told them about a trap I built when I was a kid to catch rabbits. So to illustrate how it worked, I built a trap to show the kids how to catch a rabbit. First thing the next morning we checked the trap hoping to find a rabbit. But to our surprise, we didn’t snag a rabbit but a possum. The closer we got to the trap the more the cornered possum would hiss and show his sharp teeth. He was cornered and ready to attack.
How do your respond when you are backed into a corner?
I have often said, “When a person is backed into the corner they will either come out swinging or they will display the grace of God.” I think too often we display behavior and attitudes that are more like a carnal believer than like the Savior we follow. There is a thin line between properly defending yourself and displaying a quiet and calm spirit.
Speaking of responding with Grace, the late Roy Hession said it better than anyone I know. He said;
“Every person who crosses us, every person who discourages us, is God’s way of breaking us. It creates a deeper channel in us for the life of Christ. The only life that pleases God is His life, never our life. Our self-centered life is the exact opposite of His. We can never be filled with His life unless we are prepared for God to bring our life constantly to death.” (Calvary’s Road)
How we respond when pressed reveals our level of brokenness and maturity. All of us have occasional weak moments, but regularly challenging those who disrespect us is an indication that we may be walking in the flesh.
Living in a contemporary world that is constantly more hostile and intolerant of believers, our flesh is constantly challenged. The moment we say to the Lord, “I want to live for you, obey you and become all that you want me to be,” the Lord begins the work of breaking us. He allows circumstances to come our way that will reveal who and what we are trusting in, other than Him.
Peter is an example of the typical “on fire and committed’ believer. He very boldly declared that he was willing to go to the mat defending His Lord. But the Lord knew what was inside of him and knew that only failure and challenge would reveal Peter’s self-centeredness. He knew if Peter was going to be a successful apostle his dependence upon the flesh would have to be exposed.
The Death Process
It is called a death process. When Jesus declared that we must take up our cross and follow Him, He wasn’t speaking of us dying on the cross. He was referring to a spiritual death process that only the cross could produce. “For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus sake, that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal body.” (2 Cor. 4:11)
It is only through various trials, failures, and sometimes suffering, that we experience the death process. These events and incidences are designed to show us our self-sufficiency and expose our hypocrisy. It’s a stripping from us all that we are holding onto for security and worth. Then we are given the privilege to surrender and abandon our own life and exchange it for Christ’s life and sufficiency.
During every test and trial responding with Grace is our goal. When we respond with Grace we are acknowledging whatever is going on, it’s OK. God in control, and we choose with an act of our will to trust Him. But when we acknowledge that “every person who crosses us, every person who discourages us, is God’s way of breaking us”, then we will realize that God is at work in our life to “create a deeper channel in us for the life of Christ.”