Can we remain joyful even in difficult circumstances?
How can we can be joyful, confident and positive even in difficult circumstances? By learning to keep our eyes on the Lord Jesus.The writer of Hebrews said:
Therefore let us also, seeing we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2
Let us not forget that Jesus is God’s anointed one. In the gospels we can see what can be accomplished through God’s anointing. Luke points out in Acts 10:
…even Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. Acts 10:38
Focusing on the wrong things
Yet often we get our eyes or our focus on things other than Christ such as:
- things we do not have
- out failures and limitations
- circumstances and problems
- people and their faults
- possessions (they will become idols for us)
- one’s own understanding (some look to their own understanding more than what faith can accomplish)
- becoming too focused on self (leads to self-centeredness)
- those things that give us pleasure (this often puts our lives out of balance)
- the pain which we have suffered in the past (and miss the healing that we can receive from the Lord)
- one’s on ideas and not on God’s ways (His ways are higher then our; we need to have our minds renewed)
- our flesh and how to gratify it: sex, drugs, alcohol, gambling, overeating, materialism…
All the other things keep us from hearing God’s voice; they keep us from reaching our destiny and our destination. They keep us focused on the natural and not the supernatural. By not having our eyes on Jesus we fail to see that he is present in our situation and how we can apply his principles to our challenges.
How can we stay focused on Christ?
How do we keep our eyes on the Lord? Remember that Christ lives in us through the Holy Spirit as a result of turning from sin and receiving God’s free gift of eternal life. We can learn to keep our focus on the indwelling Christ. Listen to what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 13:5:
Test your own selves, whether you are in the faith. Test your own selves. Or don’t you know as to your own selves, that Jesus Christ is in you?
But we have this treasure in clay vessels, that the exceeding greatness of the power may be of God, and not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side, yet not crushed; perplexed, yet not to despair; pursued, yet not forsaken; struck down, yet not destroyed; always carrying in the body the putting to death of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 2 Corinthians 4:7-10
Recognize that you have a treasure within you, which is Christ: the Anointed One of God and his anointing. Discover his presence, not in your conscious mind but in your spirit. This is what makes a difference from being a follower of any religion and being a follower of Christ. Christ actually comes to live in us. It is a relationship. Religion conforms but relationship transforms. But some have made Christianity a religion and have substituted legalism in place of a relationship with Christ.
“Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also,” the scripture say in Luke 12:34. Is Christ our treasure? He wants to reveal his life in us. That same Jesus who walked along the shores of the sea of Galilee wants to reveal himself to the world through each of us!
Jesus said: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, then I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with me,” Revelation 3:20
The Lord desires to spend time with us, more than just hearing our prayer request. So our time spent in prayer, in worship and in meditating in God’s word can become fellowship time with the Lord. And it is important that we practice these things so that we grow spiritually and in our capacity to be sensitive to the Lord and to function according to the principles of his kingdom.
When we keep our focus on him then we will discover that we are more than conquerors, that we are always lead in triumph and that our faith is victorious over the world. It changes our thinking; we go from worldly thinking to kingdom thinking. It is just a matter of training and discipline. Many times during the day our minds will become occupied with the tasks, challenges and problems the confront us. Yet we can learn to constantly keep bringing our focus back to the Christ within us, who is our source, and draw from him whatever strength, guidance, insight, peace or power that we need. How do we draw on Christ, the anointed who lives within us? But knowing the principles of his word and applying them by faith. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ,” Romans 10:17. Thus if we want to be able to draw on the resources of Christ we have to spend time in the word each day.
Breaking our attachment to the world
So as we stay focused on the king and his kingdom we become less attached to the world: to the things that the world is telling us and the circumstances taking place around us. We keep listening to the Lord and his instructions to us. Now we can adopt a new perspective on our lives and our circumstances. We recognize that we can always be rejoicing about the Lord’s presences in our lives. And we can practice continual thankfulness for the things we have and for the things we are expecting from the Lord.. We can do this because we put our desires, opinions and ideas second and put Christ, his kingdom and his way of doing thing first.
Listen to the words of Jesus as he explains the model by which we can conduct ourselves in this world:
Most assuredly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father doing. For whatever things he does, these the Son also does likewise. John 5:19
They didn’t understand that he spoke to them about the Father. Jesus therefore said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and I do nothing of myself, but as my Father taught me, I say these things. He who sent me is with me. The Father hasn’t left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.” John 8:27-29
So we stop doing our own thing and stop following our own ideas or the ideas of the world. Instead we seek the Lord’s guidance, wait and don’t act or say anything until tell tells us what to do or what to say.
Fruit bearing is our task
Jesus told us in John 15:
I am the vine. You are the branches. He who remains in me, and I in him, the same bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing…In this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit; and so you will be my disciples. John 15:5, 8
Whatever our roles as members of God’s kingdom, we always have the duty to bear fruit that beings glory to Christ. Yet we can not produce fruit in our own strength. Apart from the Lord Jesus we can accomplish nothing; the works that we can accomplish through our flesh account for nothing. Therefore we must abide in Christ; that is we stay focused, sensitive, submitted and obedient to him because he is our source. And you know, there is another benefit to staying focused on Christ: that when we practice abiding in Christ in this manner it will not be easy for us to fall into sin.
To bring glory to Christ means that we make him look good by our words and actions. And God has given us supernatural abilities, spiritual gifts, to accomplish this. And his anointing teaches what things we can do to glorify him.
What happens when we bring Christ glory? People will see Christ Jesus in us and will be drawn to him. They will yield their lives to the Lord Jesus. And as the message of Christ spreads around the world through the practice of fruit bearing then we believers will hasten and bring closer the day of Christ’s return as Jesus promised in Matthew 24:14:
This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world for a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.
Christ will return and unveil his kingdom on the earth; a kingdom the will replace all the existing governments on the earth, bringing an end to corruption, injustice, poverty and war.
So starting living today with your focus on Christ who lives within you and not on the world or others or yourself or things. Adopt the same attitude that Paul had: “For me to live is Christ!,” (Philippians 1:21). Ask the Lord each day, “Show me what I can do today that will reveal you, your love, your power and your character to those around me today?” Let us allow the radiance of the Lord shine in us as David said in Psalm 34:
I sought THE LORD, and he answered me, And delivered me from all my fears. They looked to him, and were radiant. Their faces shall never be covered with shame. Psalms 34:4, 5
Copyright © 2010-2011 by Alan Pasho, www.disciplepedia.org. All rights reserved.
Scriptures taken from the Word English Bible (WEB)