Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Living the Truth - Conclusion

(Be sure to see the previous posts to get the context of this article.)

Let's take another example where focusing on the truth can help. What about general dissatisfaction with life circumstances. The truth of Scripture is that God is working all things together for good if you love him and are called according to his purpose, (Romans 8:28). God will not allow you to be tested above what you can handle, (1 Corinthians 10:13). God determined in advance where you would live and during which time period, (Acts 17:26).

Many aspects of your circumstances are or were not under your control. Other circumstances are a result of previous decisions you made. At some point you decided to go to college or not. You decided to marry this person or not. You accepted a particular job or changed your mind and took another one. All of these decisions are in the past. Some of them can be changed. Many of them cannot. But that is where the frustration comes in, isn't it. We want to be able to go back and change them. One of the truths of the world is that time moves only forward and you can't go back and change a decision to a different one. All of the mumbling and negative self talk isn't going to change any of it. So after you know that truth, you must accept it and act accordingly.

Maybe there's a way to change your job situation. You can put your resume out there to see what God brings along. You can move to a different part of the country where it may be more to your liking or where there may be more jobs. Those things you can do.
You cannot change many of the things related to your physical condition. But you can make healthy eating choices. You can exercise more. You can quit smoking. However, some results of past decisions will stay with you.

Now I'm not saying to take on a defeatist attitude. “I've made so many bad decisions, I'll always be this way.” That's not what I'm saying. I'm saying that there is a lot you can do about the way you think and the way you approach life. So don't waste time and emotional energy on the things you cannot change or complain about the truths which serve as boundaries in life.

Finally, let's take a moment and look at worry about the future. Nothing in the future has happened yet and therefore isn't true. The Bible tells us to plan for the future, to set aside food and supplies for a time when things may not be going as well. But it also tells us not to take on the cares of tomorrow today. God has said he would never leave or forsake us, Hebrews 13:5. It also says that having food and clothing we should be content, 1 Timothy 6:8. God says that he will supply all of our needs, Philippians 4:19. So when you begin to worry, you need to tell yourself the things that are true. Tell your soul to accept those truths and then make decisions based on those truths. When you find yourself mulling over the fears of the future, tell yourself to drop it and purposely turn your focus to other things. If you have built a habit of worrying, it won't go away that easily. You will find yourself struggling actively against the worry. That is a good thing. Some people say they struggle with worry or some other sin but what they mean is that it has the victory. The actual battle comes when you stake your claim on God's truth and refuse to submit to worry or whatever else might have gained a foothold. It won't be easy. But God is faithful. He said he won't allow any testings that you are not able to handle. Grab a hold of that truth and let that be the starting point for victory.

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