When was the last time you thought about the chains you are wearing? As Christians, we have only two options when it comes to being in chains: the first is to be chained to Christ; the second is to be chained to circumstance. The first option leads to freedom, joy, and faithfulness; the second leads to fear, dread, and unbelief. British author and philosopher James Allen aptly noted that “Circumstance does not make the man, it reveals him.”
So . . . what have your circumstances been revealing about you lately? The apostle Paul wrote:
I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances . . . (Philippians 4:11)
Did you ever wonder how Paul could possibly be content while he was chained in a prison? It was because he only saw himself chained to Christ, not his circumstances. Paul’s circumstances continually revealed more and more of what he was: a prisoner in chains for Christ. He knew that Jesus had ordained his chains and he wore them for two reasons . . . Paul’s good and God’s glory.
Paul knew that, in spite of changing circumstances, God never changes. Paul could count on his God and trust in Him even when he could not trace Him. Paul drew comfort from this truth. The officials could put him in chains, but they could never chain the Word of God! God’s Word is living and active, and it accomplishes exactly what He desires; Paul was in the business of declaring that Word everywhere he went.
Let me ask you a question: when you squeeze an orange, what do you get? Orange juice, of course. When you are squeezed, what do those around you get? If you are chained to Christ, they will get only what Christ has put in you. But if you are chained to circumstance, there is no telling what they will get . . . but it will probably something not at all Christlike!
I know it is easy to feel chained to difficult circumstances in life. Yet the only way to rise above those circumstances is to focus on your Redeemer. The only way to be unchained to circumstance is to be chained to Christ.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. (Psalm 46:1-3)
You and I will be able to say what the psalmist says here—that God is our refuge, our strength, and our ever-present help in times of trouble—when we chain ourselves to Him rather than the circumstances of life. Remember, He who is in you and with you is infinitely greater than anything that comes up against you!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!