Week 4 Day 25: Defined by our Circumstances?
"It is for freedom that Christ has set you free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery". Galatians 5:1
Idols and What/Who we Worship
Ponder: The next three days we are going to think about the subtle nature of idols. For some their focus on failure, their own worthlessness, and a victim mentality can be all they think about. Sometimes it can be what they live their life from. "I'm always going to fail so why bother?" "I might as well live up to what other people have called me all my life." "I am always the brunt of what other's say or do to me." These have a very painful punch but after 5, 10, 15 or 30 or more years? I remember a counsellor saying to me after yet another "poor me, victim mentality" session, "supposing God never takes your depression away, are you still going to follow Him, is your life going to be only defined by this circumstance?" This was hard hitting stuff but so true.
Recently, I have been pondering the verse from Philippians: 4:13 beginning at verse 11: "Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength." N.L.T.
Paul had learned to be content in each and every circumstance in the strength of Christ. When we over focus on the circumstances around our failures, our broken pasts, what other people have said, or continue to say about us, we are not focusing on Christ, the freedom He has brought for us, the grace-filled loving words He says about us or asking Him to transform these things in our lives. He gives us the strength to live a different way, a life not defined by these circumstances, no matter how painful or broken.
Action: What are you hanging on to? That gets between you and God? That could be called your idol, what you are living for. This could be your comfort, yes what you are always turning to, what has enslaved you. Not God, the Almighty, your Creator, your Shepherd, your Lord, your friend. I took my depression and placed it into my Saviour's loving hands, and learned to trust Him with it. I learned contentment in the middle of my low state. It is no longer what I live by. This is the freedom I learned. You can too!
Prayer: Lord, I need you today. Life seems very over-whelming. Especially when I consider everything that is going on inside me and the world around me. Fill me with your joy, your contentment and your peace. I do not deserve this; only by your grace. Teach me to live there, fixing my eyes on you and not on myself as I am so used to doing.
Challenge: Ponder Psalm 121:
I look up to the mountains— does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!
He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber. Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps.
The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night.
The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever. N.L.T.