You can rise above the circumstances | Faith | The Press and Standard

by | February 26, 2017 5:00 am

Last Updated: February 22, 2017 at 4:16 pm

Have you ever been told, “You will never be ‘nothing’”? Have you ever followed the wrong crowd just to be accepted, knowing that you were raised differently? Did you grow up in a situation that could have adversely affected your life to the point where you would not be where you are today? Have you ever been looked down upon because of the color of your skin?
Growing up, did you ever let someone coerce you into doing something that you knew was not the right thing to do? Were you ever bullied as a child and wanted to retaliate, but you were afraid to do so? Have you ever done something in your life that you knew was wrong, but you were afraid to tell anyone? Are you allowing your past to dictate your future?
I am sure that as newborn and mature believers in Christ, we all can answer “Yes” to at least one of these questions. If you are going to rise above the circumstances, it is all going to depend on your relationship with Christ.
Don’t let the devil brainwash you into thinking that you cannot rise above the circumstances. Ephesians 6:11 (ESV) says, Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. To further warn us against this “brainwashing devil,” the word asserts in 1 Peter 5:8 (ESV), “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
If you aren’t careful, the devil will have you thinking that you don’t know your left from your right!
Well, how can we rise above the circumstances? Focus on these four short, life-changing steps: First of all, don’t take ownership of these circumstances. Remember that Proverbs 18:21 (ESV) says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” Therefore, don’t claim what you don’t own.
Secondly, know that God is bigger than any problem or circumstance in which you will ever face. In Isaiah 55:8-9 (ESV), God says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” What a mighty God we serve! Thirdly, once you have made up your mind to turn the circumstances over to God, leave them there! Philippians 4:6 (ESV) tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
The real problem comes when you turn something over to the Lord, and then you take it back. When you do that, you are telling God, “I don’t trust You to do what You said You would do!” Guess what? You have just created a “royal mess” of the situation. Just trust him! Remember “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8 ESV).
Lastly, stand still and watch God do His work! Psalm 46:10 (ESV) affirms, “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Further, Exodus 14:14 (ESV) says, “The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” Once again, just trust him!
When it seems that the circumstances are becoming too hard to bear, please follow these four steps. Then you can move on to a more productive life in Christ. Even though the illustration, “You Can Be Different,” by Fran that I am going to leave with you this week focuses on what happened to a child who rose above the circumstances, the results followed the child through adulthood. Enjoy and share!
“My parents had split up, and my sister and I were in a foster home. It wasn’t a nice place to be, so all of the children were eventually removed. It wasn’t a good start in life. Some of the kids who were there were already well on their way to a life of crime.
“Waiting for the bus one morning, they engaged in screaming at one of the teachers as she drove by. I was told that they would beat me up if I didn’t scream at her too. Those were still the days of slapping your hand with a ruler if you misbehaved in school. She was my teacher. I crept into the classroom. My eyes and head down. I heard my name and cowered my way to the teacher’s desk, fully expecting the ruler. She took me by the arm and pulled me close as I was pulling the other way.
“She said, ‘Stop … Come here.’ She gently cupped her hands around my ear and said, ‘You can be different.’ I was stunned. I looked her in the eyes, and she said again, ‘You can be different; you don’t have to be like them.’
“It made all the difference. It was an epiphany that struck at a very early age. I became successful in life and never felt the need to ever engage in activities that were damaging to another person. I could be me. The beating in the flesh was far less than the beating I took in my soul the day I was so unkind to my teacher … And yet she gave me a life well lived with those few simple words … ‘You can be different.’”
Rise above the circumstances!
Have a wonderfully blessed week, and never leave home without Him!

(Anna Bright is a minister and educator in Walterboro. She can be reached at abrightcolumn@lowcountry.com)

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