HOPE IN OPPRESSION
Do you ever feel overwhelmed with a situation or circumstance in your life? You may even have a hard time continuing in your day-to-day activities because the situation has “stopped you dead in your tracks”. You may be bowed very low with care and concern. You feel stifled in being able to go on. You are “zapped” of clear thinking and energy. The situation has captivated you but not in a beautiful or delightful way. Your captivation is more of an oppressive, loss of heart nature. You have the “air knocked out of you”.
You may not be currently experiencing such a circumstance or situation. You may remember a time when you did. This hardship in your life may be just around the corner. It has been well said all people are in one of three places: going through a trying time, coming out of a difficult circumstance, or in the midst of a tough situation.
As believers in the Lord Jesus, we have hope in circumstances which oppress us. Non-believers do not experience and cannot take part in this hope. Paul’s letter to the Philippians gives us instruction for not being found stooped over in our life because of hard times. The instruction begins in Chapter 4 of Philippians. The text specifically says we can take part in these seven activities and God will enable us to stand up in our circumstances. God will give protection to our hearts to keep them from becoming overwhelmed to the point of breaking under the weight. God will give our minds protection from thoughts which would cause us to buckle and fall.
The attitudes and actions we can take part in to help us stand firm are found only when we have a foundation of being “in the Lord”. We don’t have a righteousness of our own. We have righteousness through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith. We have a right-standing before God because of the sinless life of Christ, His death to pay the penalty for our sins, His burial, and His resurrected life. Before we can stand-up in our circumstance, we must have a right-standing “in the Lord” as our foundation. Only then can we be ready to take our firm stand “in the Lord”, and overcome the circumstances which oppress and bow us down.
We have instruction from God giving us hope in oppression by the following actions and attitudes.
- Agree and work in harmony with others who are in the Lord.
- Help those who promote the gospel.
- Rejoice exceedingly in the Lord.
- Always be unselfish with a focus on the Lord’s soon return.
- Don’t be anxious, worried, or fretful.
- Pray always to God.
- Be thankful.
Participating in these seven instructions will not make your circumstance go away. Your difficulty will likely still be present. But the circumstance will not leave you hopelessly oppressed. You will not be unable to adequately go about your day-to-day activities because of feelings of being overwhelmed or oppressed. Instead, you can stand firm and will be more easily able to think on things which are true, honest, right, pure, lovely, of good report, and praiseworthy. May you apply these instructions and find hope in oppression.
Thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. ~2 Corinthians 2:14
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. ~Philippians 4:8
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. ~ Psalm 43:5