Living Above Your Circumstances
Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians during a long and unjust imprisonment. However, this short epistle is full of rejoicing. Paul never complains or casts blame for his situation, because he has learned to live above his circumstances.
Most people have a different response to difficulty. First, in an attempt to make themselves feel better, they try blaming someone else for the problem, but this results only in broken relationships. Next, they complain, which gets pity from others but enhances the problem in their own minds. Finally, they search for a way out of the situation and usually make things worse in the process.
Paul knew that there was a strategy for living above one’s circumstances rather than merely muddling through them: He shifted his focus. Instead of examining his problem and whining about it, he looked to God. Praise came from his lips: “I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Phil. 3:8).
God wants to hear our honest concerns and even anger or confusion about our trials, but He also wants us to trust Him to see us through. Focusing on the Lord and praising Him does not mean we pretend to enjoy tough times—that would be insincere. But we can honestly acknowledge that He is in control of the situation and will guide our every step, just as He promised (Prov. 3:5-6).
Believers have a simple choice. We can wallow in self-pity, or we can look to Jesus Christ and learn to live above our circumstances. Which of the two will you choose?