“The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance.” ~ Frankl
This quote is among my favorites… it’s made by a man who survived the inhumane brutality of Auschwitz; a place where he said, ‘not even the hair of my body is mine.’ But no matter what another tries to tear away from you… your dignity, your identity, your rights, your voice, the one thing no one else can ever control nor take away is your freedom to choose how to respond.
Sure you can be angry; you can even lash out, attempting to make those who have caused your pain too hurt more than you. But what did you achieve? Causing more suffering for yourself as you bear up the consequences of your actions..? And are you now any better than your adversary? Did your ‘bloodletting’ bring you the rest you so desired? Contentment or rest is only found in striving higher, and putting off what so easily besets or corrupts us, holding us back from being what God intended you to be all along.
Scripture tells us “there is a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, those that have gone before us” and struggled in the same battle you face right now … the choice whether to lay down your will and trust God to fight for you, or press on leaving God out of your responses? The writer of Hebrews exhorts us to “strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. (We must remember ‘the race’, the struggle we are in, is orchestrated by God for His purposes) “We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.” He doesn’t ask us to do something He hasn’t already done Himself, “Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Consider all the hostility He endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin. And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said, “My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when He corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those He loves, and He punishes each one He accepts as his child.” As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as His own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? If God doesn’t discipline you as He does all of His children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really His children at all.” (Hebrews 12:1-8)
So how will you respond to your circumstance..? The very circumstances God is using to mold you through discipline, to the likeness and nature of His Son. Will you let bitterness eat you alive? Will you chew on the scraps your relentless judgments leave behind and be satisfied? OR, will you choose to drop your willfulness and fix your eyes on Jesus, letting Him perfect the faith He desires you to have and enjoy the bountiful provision He longs to pour into your life… like a cup overflowing?
The choice is yours, will it be selfish ambition, hatred, lust, anger, and revenge… OR a peace that passes all understanding found only by resting in the nailed scarred hands of Jesus?
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 1:3-7)
Praying 4 U
Written by David Brown: David Brown is a husband, father, grandfather, Pastor with a Masters of Religious Studies and a Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Religions. Dave is the Associate Pastor of Pemberton’s First Baptist Church. He is the author of two devotional books, “From a Chair by the Window.” And “#PrayerWinsThe Day”.
Think About This: “Christianity gutted of Christ is devoid of both its beauty and its power.” ―