Are You Pinned Down By Circumstances?

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
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"For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength."

(Phil. 4:11-13)

In college, a ministry leader greeted me with the usual, expected, and well-worn question, "How are you?"

I gave my well-worn reply, "I guess I'm OK—under the circumstances."

“Well, what are you doing under there?!” he asked.

That surprising question held opportunity for an attitude adjustment on my part. What was I doing under there, after all? There was much in my life to be thankful for.

We all have seasons of plenty and seasons of need, circumstances of contentment and conflict, prosperity and pain, health and sickness. Even if I am totally devoted to God, my life will still have difficult circumstances. The Apostle Paul was certainly well-acquainted with adversity. When he penned the words from Philippians, he was in a Roman jail cell, facing a trial that could lead to his execution. Paul had lived through wealth, poverty, and everything in between. In his passion to spread the Gospel, he had experienced great effectiveness and popularity. There were also plots to kill him. Yet even "under the circumstances," Paul chose an attitude of contentment, joy, even thankfulness.

Paul wanted his readers to know that attitudes of deep contentment, joy, and thankfulness do not come from our pleasant circumstances. Where do they come from? What is the "secret" of possessing those attitudes "in any and every situation"? The secret lies not in our own strength, but in knowing Christ personally and grabbing hold of his strength. Paul knew God is with us in all times and places, working through both good times and bad to mature and develop us.

Few of us have faced imprisonment, beatings, real hunger, or death threats. Most of us, however, face frustration, anger, disappointment, loss, and conflict on a daily basis! We will not be able to remain thankful and content in the midst of these circumstances if we rely on our own strength. But in our weakness, Christ stands ready with strength sufficient for any circumstance.

With the joys and the stress of our daily work, there will be many opportunities to draw on the strength of Christ! Consider your work and family relationships, and ask yourself these questions:

  1. When tough situations arise, will I respond with frustration or anger?

  2. With envy or greed?

  3. With resentment or unforgiveness?

Instead, let us draw upon the inner strength of knowing Christ, allowing Him to teach us an attitude of contentment and thankfulness in all circumstances. As we pursue the high calling of our daily work, we do not need to be pinned down "under the circumstances"!