“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Philippians 4:11).
God is constantly working in our lives to build in us the character of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:28-29). That’s His purpose for each one of us; and He will use the changing circumstances of life to accomplish that task. Circumstances are the true test of Christian character. God uses the tough times to reveal our rough edges.
Circumstances have a way of bringing out our anger, selfishness, impatience and lack of forgiveness. It’s not that circumstances make us this way. Sometimes we have a victim mentality that believes that we are the way we are because of our circumstances. But circumstances do not make us what we are; they merely reveal the kind of person that we are already. The anger, selfishness, impatience and unforgiving spirit are what we are really like on the inside and serve to highlight how much we are in need of God’s mercy and grace so that He can change us to be more like Christ
Circumstances are unpredictable – we don’t know what a day holds – but our response to those circumstances is a deliberate act of the will. We may not be able to control our circumstances, but our circumstances do not have to control us. We do not have to respond in anger toward those who show anger toward us – “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). We do not have to be bitter toward those who wrong and hurt us – we can respond with the kindness and forgiveness of Christ (Ephesians 4:32).
Recognize that God is at work in your life today. He will present you with a variety of circumstances and challenges to help you grow and learn the character of Christ. We would never learn how to forgive if we had never been hurt. We would never learn meekness if our rights were never challenged.
Ask the Lord today for His enabling grace to help you learn the character of Christ – “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
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