January 29, 2015
Have you ever had one of those weeks in which life seems to be one step ahead of you? You can never catch your breath and feel like you are constantly choking. The hole keeps getting deeper or there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. No break in sight. Just when it seems as if life can’t get any worse … it does.
I recently had one of those weeks. My wife and I weren’t connecting and tension was in the air. Discussions about the upcoming holidays were pending. The kids’ attitudes were affected by household chores, difficulties at school and troubles with peers. At work there was one curveball after another. Our contracts weren’t paying us on time. Some contractors gave us some bad news, others weren’t producing. Friends were really struggling. Plans for a mission trip were not going smoothly. Then, with so much work to catch up on, a storm blew in and we lost power for 4 days.
In the past, a week like this would have caused so much distress, prompting poor decisions that would have led to even worse circumstances and consequences. This vicious cycle would spiral quickly and last longer because of the poor way I handled the initial set of circumstances.
My life took a dramatic turn when I learned that no matter what you do, you will never stop life’s bad turns. We are all going to be tested, sifted, purified, and refined. A traffic jam will cause you to miss that important appointment. You’ll lose a job or promotion. Someone will be rude or hurtful, or even cheat on you. Finances will be frustrating, and people will be confusing. Your plans will rarely work out perfectly. But regardless of the situation, remember, God is the One who allows all things to happen. We don’t know why, but He does, and He has a plan.
You can live happily each day despite life’s ups and downs. But it can only be done through daily dependence on Jesus Christ and trust in God’s sovereignty and plan. The Apostle Paul tells us that he learned the secret of being content in every situation: that he could do everything through Him that gives me strength. Once you throw away your me-centered lenses to view life and use God’s perspective, you will enjoy freedom from circumstances. Then you will have control of your thoughts, feelings, and actions.
Today, remember it’s not what happens to you that counts. How you choose to react to each situation reflects your attitude, your heart, and is the fruit of your life. Your response, your decision when life happens, is what you are. It’s your spiritual act of worship. It just comes down to who’s in control of your attitude. When you feel uncomfortable today, stop and assess your reaction to the day’s events. Whether you use God-centered lenses or you use our old me-centered lenses is your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father God, I invite You to be in me and at work with me. Help me grow, Father, so that I may have the same attitude and mind as Jesus Christ. I know peace doesn’t come from the outside, but comes only from Your presence in me. Help me look inward for peace as soon as trouble comes instead of waiting for my circumstances to settle down. I do not want to be ruled by the circumstances around me … I want to be ruled and guided by Your Holy Spirit. I pray in the name of the Prince of Peace, Jesus; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Philippians 2:5
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:12-13