Living non-circumstantially. What does this mean and what does this look like? I'm a practical thinker. That's the way I was raised. So when I hear a statement or phrase like "non-circumstantially" it can sound pretentious and honestly a bit repelling. Non-circumstantial: "of pertaining to, or derived from circumstances; of the nature of a circumstance; dealing with or giving circumstances."
What I have been noticing over the past few months is that there are situations, or circumstances, in my life that totally dictate the way I act, the way I treat people, and the way I view God and His Gospel - mostly negative I must add. Of course, when the circumstances that surround me are positive like amazing experiences with the Lord, a great relationship with my wife, success at work, etc. I feel great and the people around me are loved the way they deserve - unconditionally. But, in seasons of extreme busyness, marriage conflicts, etc., my relationships and contentedness in life suffer.
There must be a way to find joy amidst tough circumstances. Even more so, if I consider a “bad day” a tough circumstance, how do you label Paul’s imprisonment? It is written in the scriptures that while shackled up in jail he was rejoicing. Huh? Excuse me? SHACKLED and still dancing and singing because of Jesus.
God has given us the answer in Matthew 6.
"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33
This latter section in Matthew 6 is addressing worrying. Why worry when you have a perfect Father? Let the scripture speak for itself:
Do Not Worry | Matthew 6:25-34
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
As the body of Christ, we have to start living this way. James 1:22 says, "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” Let’s own up to the amazing possibilities we have because of Christ and in Christ. He hasn’t left us alone or destined us for failure. Romans 8:37: "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us."
As we prepare over the next few months to get away on the H2O Winter Conference, titled REFOCUS, I would love to see this community entering into, and leaving, the conference as a bookend to a life committed to living with a gospel lens [non-circumstantially], instead of just then realizing that is our call and aim in Christ Jesus.
Let’s walk into living non-circumstantially today. Don't let situations and circumstances bog you down. Make the choice to know that seeking Jesus first brings about everything else. God has equipped you to succeed through Holy Spirit!