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5 Things to Do When Life Feels Like Too Much
In this season, life feels like too much for most of us.
Using a popular board game as a visual, you might welcome the opportunity to pass go and keep moving on. In other words, “Can I just bypass the season I’m in?”
Life feels like too much. Just give us a do-over—or get us out of here.
Looking back to around A.D. 55, the apostle Paul wrote these words to the church at Corinth. I find his instruction fitting for today.
“Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all you do be done in love.” 1 Corinthians 16.13-14 (NASB)
Five Things to Do When Life Feels Like Too Much
Bible scholars tell us Corinth was both the sin center and commercial center of the Roman Empire.¹ Knowing this helps us understand why Paul planted a church in Corinth and why his two letters written to believers there (First and Second Corinthians) are significant for us.
From First Corinthians, we take this instruction for the days when life feels like too much.
#1 – Be on the alert.
Here, alert means “watch, wake, be vigilant”. ² Every generation faces troublesome times. As believers, we must remember the enemy’s agenda is always in motion—always working to destroy what is good and right.
So, in both good times and bad, when life feels like too much, we can draw on this instruction from the apostle Paul. Friend, stay alert, even amid the chaos. Or, in the words of The Message Bible, “Keep your eyes open!”
#2 – Stand firm in the faith.
Notice, that Paul did not say, “Stand firm in your political affiliations.” This passage does not instruct us to stand firm in our personal opinions on vaccinations. It says nothing about fighting tooth and nail over every conspiracy theory you hold dear. The Scripture says, “Stand firm in the FAITH”.
When life feels like too much, stand firm! In difficult times, hold on to whatever you would bank your life on. For all of us, I pray that includes Jesus and the faith we have in Him.
#3 – Act like men.
Now, to the female reader, do not be put off by the word men in this verse. Ladies, this does not exclude us. In translation, the three words act like men are one Greek word—andrizomai. ² This word is a verb that means “to be brave”.
On days when life feels like too much, you need andrizomai (to be brave). Try repeating that word back to yourself in your best Greek accent: an-dre’-zo-mi. Apostle Paul was telling the Christians, “Dig deep and pull yourself together!” We can apply this encouragement to our lives, today. It's time for us to get it together!
#4 – Be strong.
Personal experience reveals I am not as strong as I think I am, particularly when life feels like too much. Amid the pandemic of our lifetime, the endemic season following, and everything happening in our world, my strength seems depleted. Who’s with me? As children of God, we have been given supernatural strength. We need to remind ourselves of this resource.
This phrase “be strong” is also a verb—an action word. Here’s the part we often fail to embrace. The only action we need to take is to trust in the Lord. He makes us strong. He empowers our strength. It is only through Christ Jesus we increase in strength. (Master, we permit You to increase our strength, today.)
“Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you’ve got, be resolute, and love without stopping.” 1 Corinthians 16.13-14 (The Message)
#5 – Let all you do be done in love.
Here we are at number five, and it may be the most challenging on the list. Remember, Paul was writing to the sin center of the Roman Empire. Though the truth of the gospel reigned supreme in Paul’s life, and he never backed down from this, he tells the believers in Corinth, “Let all you do be done in love.”
Jesus also had things to say about how we should love others. From His sermon on the Mount, these words, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you […] If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others [do]?” Matthew 5.43-47 (NASB). (emphases mine)
Love reigns supreme in the gospel message. As carriers of this gospel, we are called to love—even when life feels like too much and perhaps especially then. We don’t get a do-over, but God has equipped us to sustain and flourish in the mess of life.
So, love well in this season. Love well and keep your chin up, even when you feel stretched to the limit. Love well and lead them to Jesus.
Love without stopping.
¹ ttb.org. https://ttb.org/resources/notes-outlines-downloads Dr. J. Vernon McGee. (pdf available on 1 Corinthians)
² blueletterbible.org. https://www.blueletterbible.org/nasb/1co/16/13/t_concr_1078013 (select entries from 1 Corinthians 16.13-14 to research original meanings)