As I was growing up, one of the cartoons that I watched was called ‘Popeye the Sailor Man’. The scenario was usually this: Popeye would be with his girlfriend Olive Oyl. His nemesis, Brutus (formerly Bluto) would kidnap Olive Oyl and beat up Popeye. Popeye would be in an helpless state. At this point when he reached the end of his rope, he would say, “That’s all I can stands, I can’t stands no more!” Then he would pull out a can of spinach and gulp it down. This would transform him into a muscle bound hero where he would take care of Brutus and rescue Olive Oyl.
My wife started watching the ‘I am Second’ videos a few weeks ago. They are testimonies of people who have given their life to Jesus Christ. Many of the people are recognizable from somewhere in the entertainment or sports world. When she finds one that is extremely powerful she will then share it with me in the evening before we go to bed. There is a central theme that runs through the extremely powerful ones, and that is they are about people who had reached the end of their rope and hit rock bottom. Most of it is because of drugs, alcohol, sex, pornography, or an extremely dangerous lifestyle. They were literally people crying out just like Popeye, “That’s all I can stands, I can’t stands no more!” The big difference is that instead of spinach, it was the love of Jesus Christ that intervened.
Let’s step it down a notch. You don’t have to be at rock bottom. What is it that you feel you don’t have control of in your life? What is it that has given you the feeling that you are spiraling downward? What is it that has stepped into your life that has zapped you of your spiritual power? What is it that has made you a slave to it?
You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything. (1 Corinthians 6:12 NLT)
Paul would not all allow himself to become a slave to anything. He would only allow himself to be a slave to one entity, and that was Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ alone!
This letter is from Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, chosen by God to be an apostle and sent out to preach his Good News. (Romans 1:1 NLT)
Let’s step it down one more notch. What is it that makes you miserable if you don’t get it? Could it be that coffee and bagel every morning? Could it be that glass of beer or wine you have to have with dinner every night? Could it be those cigarettes you have to have because of the high stress life you think you lead? Could it be that you don’t get to watch your favorite sport’s team on TV? Could it be the stocks that you have invested in haven’t gone up for the day? Could it be that you didn’t get what you wanted from social media for the day?
Anything that affects my ‘prayer closet’ with God, or my ‘disposition’ with my fellow man, or my ‘peace’ with myself, I need to examine it and take control of it, and if need be, I must crucify it to the cross of Jesus Christ:
We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. (Romans 6:6 NLT)
Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. (Luke 9:23 NKJV)
Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. (Hebrews 12:1b NKJV)
Is there anything in your life that needs for you to cry out, “That’s it! I will not put up with it anymore!”? If there is, there is unlimited power in the cross to overcome anything, no matter how big or small:
The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18 NLT)