Christ-defined or situation-defined?

Those of you who have raised children know very well the up and down emotions of a child.  They can be crying one moment and laughing the next.  Hungry and dissatisfied and throwing a “wall-eyed fit,” and then minutes later content and satisfied and happy as they could possibly be (I don’t know exactly what “wall-eyed fit” means but I’ve come to understand – it’s not good!).  The emotions of a child run the gauntlet readily.

But aren’t we sometimes equally as susceptible to running the gauntlet?  Don’t we often allow the situations we find ourselves in at times to take control of our emotions?  Don’t we at times allow external situations to overwhelm how we feel about everything else?

Sometimes what upsets us is a very real and present stress.  The loss of a job.  The loss of a loved one.  An uncontrollable plummet of emotions.  But at other times (and more often than not) it’s something minor that sends us into orbit.  Traffic lights when were running behind.  Formatting a Word document on a computer different than you’re accustomed to.  Trying to navigate through traffic when the GPS is telling you to go down a road that is blocked off due to construction.  (I just thought I’d throw three recent personal examples out there…).  🙂

Our current situations will continue to define our happiness until we are Christ-defined rather than situation-defined.

Haven’t you seen Christians who right in the very middle of the crisis of a lifetime reveal such a trusting faith in Jesus?  Maybe you’ve experienced it yourself.  The peace that transcends all understanding as the Father brings comfort amidst turmoil.  Tranquility in the middle of anxiety.

However beyond the tragic is the everyday.  And I believe that one of the many things we struggle with as a people is the ability to calmly, rationally, objectively engage life.  And as believers we ought to do better at this.

Paul writes in Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again, ‘Rejoice.’”   Where is the Apostle when he writes the letter to the Philippians?  Prison!  Rejoice?  Have joy?  You better believe it!  But only, in Christ.  And only when Christ-defined rather than situation-defined.

Glory to God!


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