HEALTHY RESPONSES

LifeLink Devotions (Click for audio version)

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Bad circumstances have a way of sapping our energy. We get mentally drained trying to figure out solutions to the problem. We get emotionally drained by feeling all of the possible responses we could have to the problem. We get physically drained by all of the activity it takes to try and fix the problem. I’m tired just writing about it. But I have good news for us all – it is not the circumstance that causes the draining of our energy; it is our fleshly response to the circumstance that does that. The circumstance itself has no power. We empower it by how we respond to it. We empower it to control us and deplete us of strength when we respond to it with our own reasoning and activity. We become emotionally drained because we know the limits of such responses and our hope is diminished based on our finite limitations. 

I want you to notice the difference between what I just wrote and what Paul wrote in Romans about our responses to circumstances.

Romans 8:6 “The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.”

Romans 8:10-11 “But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.”

What I wrote is all about what I am able to accomplish in my human nature, and what Paul wrote is all about what God will do through His Spirit. What I wrote brings fear and failure. What Paul wrote is vitality and peace. 

The Greek word for life is zoe, and its base meaning is “the state of one who is possessed with vitality”. I like that word vitality. It describes what I desire for my existence. It is certainly not what I experience when I respond to circumstances from my flesh and human nature. But because Christ is in me, and in you, the death we have been living in response to our circumstances has been replaced with the resurrection power of Jesus Christ who has given life -vitality – to our mortal bodies.

My friends, we have the power of God residing in us, and circumstances cannot change that fact. Our response to those circumstances can change the experience of that fact if we choose to respond from our flesh. I know how easy it is to blame others and blame events for causing our current mental, emotional, and physical stress: I do it all the time. But God is richly showing me that His Spirit provides vitality in all of those times, and that the circumstances are powerless in and of themselves. My response to them is what needs adjustment. The sinful circumstances of this life will not be changed until Jesus returns. What can be changed is my response and attitude. 

Jesus, thank you for bringing your resurrection power into my life and giving me vitality. Forgive me for responding from my flesh to the things that happen in my world and for placing myself on the mental, emotional, and physical throne of my life by thinking I have the solutions and ability to act in my own strength. Use these times to strengthen my faith and determination to trust you with the outcomes. Thank you for the peace that passes all understanding when I give all of the control over to you. Amen.

Pastor John

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