Are Circumstances Always What They Seem?June 2, 2021
Are Circumstances Always What They Seem?
-Circumstances can often alter our mood, attitude, and perspective on life.
-Circumstantial responses often result from losing sight of God’s sovereignty.
Job 38:1-7 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
*God’s goodness should never be measured or evaluated by the circumstances in which we find ourselves at any given point.
-Our joy should not ebb and flow on the basis of those circumstances either.
-God’s promise concerning circumstances:
Romans 8:28, And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
-Joy is the certain conviction that God is able, and that He is for us…therefore, you can rejoice, even if you find yourself in the midst of mourning.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18, For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Five Unbiblical Thoughts About Circumstances:
1. I have the right to be angry when things don’t go my way.
-Respect matters a great deal to us, but if we’re not careful, we can be hypersensitive to what we perceive to be affronts to our dignity (i.e. minor mistreatment, insult, disrespect, cut off in traffic, etc.)
-Our outrage tends to flow out of an inflated and fraudulent sense of our own character and an unduly harsh assessment of the intentions of others.
-See Jesus’ perspective in Matthew 18:21-35.
-When we grasp that we’ve been forgiven much, we should find it much easier to forgive others.
-Ephesians 4:32, And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
*What if your anger is directed toward God for undesirable circumstances?
-Ask yourself: Does God ever fail to give me what He owes me? ___________
-Our calling: recognize that we live every day under God’s grace and then to give thanks because the glorious truth is that Jesus has paid our debt in full.
2. If my circumstances were different, I would be different.
–We believe we are the way that we are because of our circumstances. (i.e. I would/wouldn’t have __________, if _________.)
-If our circumstances make us what we are, then we are all victims—and that’s just the way the Enemy wants us to believe.
-If we are victims, then we are not responsible.
-Our circumstances do not make us what we are, they simply reveal who we already are. (i.e. tea bag)
-Beware of the “if only” game!
-Truth: If we are not content within our present circumstances, we are not likely to be happy in any other set of circumstances.
-Our joy and well-being are not dependent on our circumstances, but on the steadfast love and faithfulness of God.
Philippians 4:11-13, Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
*We may not be able to control our circumstances, but our circumstances do not have to control us.
-Joy, peace, and stability come from knowing that every circumstance that touches our lives has first been filtered through His fingers of love, and is part of a great, eternal plan that He is working out in this world and in our lives.
3. Pain and Suffering are always bad.
-Pain is a good thing when we touch a hot stovetop or when we are engaged in a healthy exercise regimen (no pain, no gain).
-Like flashing red lights on our dashboard, pain and suffering are often gauges that tell us something likely needs to be changed, adjusted, or fixed.
James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
-God uses pain, suffering, and hardship in our lives to purify and remake us into the image of His Son.
-When hard things come our way, we can be confident that God is at work in us and that we will come out on the other side better for it.
-Like Paul and his thorn in the flesh, God may not choose to remove our trial, but to teach us dependence upon Him in the midst of it. (2 Cor. 12)
-A preposition makes a big difference: In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1 Thes. 5:18)
-Pain and suffering are tools in God’s wise, loving hands.
4. I can’t help how I react to certain people and circumstances.
-This lie concerns our self-control.
-How often have we spoken unwise things “in the moment”—things we have later deeply regretted or done something foolish that was spontaneous and uncalculated.
-We must beware of the lie that we are unable to control ourselves.
-The Apostle Paul struggled, but recognized the hope:
Romans 7:18-19, 21-23, 8:2-4, For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do…I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man…But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members…For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh…That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
*When we hand over control to the indwelling Holy Spirit, He will produce in us the fruit of self-control. (Gal. 5:22-23)
5. I just can’t take anymore.
-This lie results in unnecessary defeat and hopelessness.
-Regardless of what our emotions or circumstances tell us, God promises: My grace is sufficient for thee…(2 Cor. 12:9) (read p. 227)
-Truth: No matter your circumstance, God’s grace is sufficient!
-Your heavenly Father will never lead you anywhere that His grace will not sustain you.
-’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, And grace will lead me home.
*Study from Lies Men Believe & Lies Women Believe by Robert & Nancy D. Wolgemuth