Continuous Circumstances: The Fuel for Conquering Change – Part II
Our definition of the word circumstance literally means the things that stand (stances) around (circa). As long as we live all of us will always have issues, demands, duties, pressures, and some crises standing around us. Most will delight or challenge while many can depress, but all will drive us to decisions that create our outcomes. Hopefully, the great majority of those decisions of action and reaction or both will be made with the Mind of Christ. The Lord has created and allowed all of our circumstances for both a present as well as an eternal purpose. He created the circumstances and timing for Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and He also creates our circumstances and timing for where we have been put by Him in our own human existence. The circumstances we encounter will continue to be positive or negative because we are all flawed people and inhabitants of a fallen world! We are not only candidates for the blessings of God but also targets for the arrows of Satan. Nevertheless, all of our circumstances can turn toward the positive or greater positive if we use them as pointers to God’s standards of reality!
Hence, handling our circumstances with spiritual wisdom is critical. Understanding the many “whys” for God having allowed and purposed them will enable us to grow stronger in His truth. While on earth we will never comprehend all the “whys,” but we can know enough of our “whys” to conquer our battles, please His desires, and grow in His image. This discipline of circumstance discernment will set us free from our bondages and entrapments to ignorance and deception! To mentally exist and be content with living “under the circumstances,” however, will destine us to become victims of demonic design, diminishing drift, and insignificant destiny! I see four transformative thought issues involved in each of our circumstances. All four must be understood, accepted, and adjusted to as the Holy Spirit leads if we are to ignite the fire in us that results in “conquering change!” I’ll touch on the first three in this post.
The first issue authentic disciples need to realize about circumstances is that they are all intended to serve a divine purpose. Non-redemptive and self-centered thinking about circumstances will create illogical conclusions convincing us that there is little or no hope, no purpose, or no solution about bad situations. We tend to subconsciously give up on ourselves, on others, on the world, and feel we might as well give up the struggle to overcome our battles. The truth from Scripture states that there is not one single circumstance that comes into our life that we can’t use for our good and for His glory! We can always gain a greater vision of who the Lord Jesus is, how this fallen world works its will, and what the Messiah has in mind for our lives! “All things are working for good in the lives of those who continue to believe and keep on loving the Lord!” (Rom. 8:28, HDM, Greek) “… Continue to earnestly work out your own salvation, and do it with humble respect and precise sensitivity toward God. He Himself is also working in you to energize your will and your accomplishments for His purposes and pleasure!” (Phil. 2:12-13, HDM, Greek, Peterson, NEB). Circumstances don’t exist so that we can change them for our benefit – as we might desire. No! The Lord created a world where circumstances would be created that mankind had to deal with – like them or not! They exist to be used for God’s benefit to change us – as He desires! All circumstances should be viewed thusly by serious disciples. They are God’s tools to teach – not ours to manipulate and own!
Secondly, we see our whole attitude beginning to change and mature about our life situations once all of our circumstances become pointers to the Messiah and His specific purposes. Living means changing, and we change the most and the quickest by circumstances seen with the eyes and Mind of Christ. We begin to welcome all of our circumstances – good or bad, happy or sad, freeing or frustrating – anticipating in each of them another insight from the Savior about walking in His light! (John 1:4-9; Rom. 13:12; I John 1:7). Regardless of the press, stress, bless, and mess of emotional adjustments we find ourselves gaining Jesus wisdom and the power of His light over our problems. We learn the cross reality that making spiritual changes is our only escape from what we don’t want to be and our only hope for what we want to become! We increasingly embrace the Lord’s ordained process and destiny. To be truly alive means moving our existence from less to more, from weakness to strength, from sin to righteousness, from negative to positive, from flesh to spirit, from self to Jesus! Once circumstances begin their ministry of change in us, and we use them as the Father intends, we begin our steady transformation into the image of Christ. The Father intends for us to use His circumstances His way in order to change us!
The third step, then, after 1) recognizing that God intends our circumstances for His purposes, not ours, and 2) realizing His priority is to first change us rather than simply rearranging our circumstances to make our life easier, we then 3) begin to learn that the more quickly we welcome and allow circumstances to reveal what ought to be changed about us, and then attempt those changes, the more adequate we can become to reflect the image of Christ in our living. When we respond with a cross attitude and begin to use all of our circumstances as the Lord intends – for our revelational and Holy Spirit empowered changes into His image – He will enable us to be overcomers in all of the situations and circumstances in which we find ourselves. We begin to see all of our circumstances, both the pleasure ones and the pain ones, as benefits to be used by us rather than being ignored or rejected. To accept our circumstances in the Spirit is to transform them and make us like the Son!
Amazingly every circumstance we have can be turned from just being an occurrence and becomes to us an opportunity to better educate ourselves about the Godhead’s creation, redemption, and perfection purposes and intentions. We gain fresh understanding about ourselves, other people, and our world as well as the liberation of His truth! It’s a thrilling game to play and can keep us blessed all day! There is no more secure, satisfying feeling than to know that the Lord is teaching us to be sufficient and capable for whatever will come at us. Paul states this clearly in Philippians 4:11 through 13. “I have learned the discipling secret of becoming self sufficient in any and all my circumstances through the changes that Christ’s energy is making within me!” (HDM, Greek). “His divine power in me enables me to overcome any and every circumstance or situation I encounter. I have learned how to overcome anything and everything through Him who is putting His spiritual dynamite into me!” (HDM, Greek).