Circumstances vs. Attitude

You may not be able to choose your circumstances. But you can always choose your attitude.

Have there ever been times when you wished you could have different circumstances? Me too. Then I learned something from Oswald Chambers. My friend Uwe gave me Chambers’ devotional book called “My Utmost For His Highest.” I love his writings. Chambers came at a time before the church became obsessed with self. His was a life surrendered to Christ. He was not out to ensure his life would go smoothly. He was, however, out to ensure that his life would be holy. By the power of God’s Holy Spirit alone. In his devotional book he repeats a line that has taught me much about the things that happen to us.

Oswald Chambers said: “God engineers our circumstances.”

It’s obvious when you hear it said that way. Not so obvious when you are in the midst of day, week or life that is unraveling. We have been programmed to believe that if we only take the right courses, find the right spouse, land the right job that we can have the life we want. We have unwittingly bought in to the false belief that it is what we control that gives us the quality of life we want.

We control nothing. Control is an illusion. What is not an illusion is our choice to respond in faith to whatever God allows.

This is different from fatalism or ‘ultra’ predestination where people believe everything is preordained and we are but passengers strapped into a roller coaster ready for a ride – fun or not – and that our choices do not matter. Let me go out on a limb and say that predestination and free will are two ways of talking about the same thing.

Our choices do make a difference. Otherwise, we would not have the ability to make them. We can control how we respond. We can be thankful that God uses circumstances – especially the ones that expose our weakness – to make us rely on Him.

So why is this so difficult? Because we are a culture of distraction. Our eyes are diverted to so many different things. An unending number of choices. And yet, our focus and our identity is to be on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

This week, be encouraged that the God who created you is also the God who designs circumstances to make you more like Christ.

Will you choose to release control of your life and trust Christ’s wisdom in His design for your life? Or will you allow your mind to think whatever it wants? Peter took his eyes off the LORD and sank. The Apostle Paul encourages us to fix our gaze on Jesus. I hope you will be encouraged to do that.

The world and even our own fallen nature judges us by our accomplishments (or lack thereof). Jesus does not. Remember the woman caught in adultery. Jesus told her not to repeat her sin, yet he also said that he does not judge. And with that kind of freedom and grace from Christ, we can keep our eyes and attitude on Him.  We can choose to rely on Him, choose to sing, choose to force out wrong thoughts, choose to pray, choose to read the Bible, choose to serve.

Always remember God’s words: “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” (Jeremiah 31:3)


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