The Apostle Paul was writing to the church when he wrote the passages above. Do you know what he’s talking about when he says “all-surpassing power”? In the first century church, they were healing the sick, raising the dead, prophesying, and working in the gifts of the Spirit as well as encouraging gifts. They were accomplishing all of this without the New Testament, which they didn’t have because they were the ones who authored it! Nonetheless, they persevered and demonstrated Christ’s enormous power in wonderful ways because of Christ’s great strength within them. Persecution, it turns out, was the most powerful cause for the incredible outpouring of God’s Spirit in the hearts of first-century believers. This is why, in the words above, being hard-pressed sits alongside Jesus’ all-powerful power. The same premise still holds today. Make worshiping and assembling illegal if you want to grow a church. Persecute a group of believers if you want the greatness of God’s power to be manifested among them! You see, with Christ, if you kill something, you just give it greater life! This is why we can be pushed but not crushed, persecuted but not abandoned, and struck down but not annihilated.
Friend, no matter what struggle you are going through, Jesus’ strength is greater, so tremendous that not even death can defeat it! Those who come to Christ’s judgment seat without knowing Him will have to show Him their resume, but you can present your Heavenly Father Jesus’ resume when you meet him face to face. You have become the righteousness of God because He who knew no sin became sin for you! That is what it means to be saved! Remember, you can’t receive Jesus’ life without also accepting His death, for it was through His death that you were given your greatest and most abundant life! What a powerful exchange!