Focusing on Challenging Circumstances Rather Than a Powerful God

Focusing on Challenging Circumstances Rather Than a Powerful God

The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You.
–Isaiah 26:3

In 1 Kings 19, we see the aftermath of the contest on Mount Carmel from Ahab’s viewpoint. During that battle for the gods on Mount Carmel, King Ahab’s wife, Jezebel, wasn’t there. She stayed at Jezreel at the palace. We don’t know why–perhaps she was so convinced Baal would win that she said, “I don’t even need to waste my time.” So after Jehovah proved to be the true God and Elijah slew the 850 false prophets, Ahab had to go back to the palace to tell Jezebel what had happened.

We find this conversation in 1 Kings 19:1-2: “Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, ‘So may the gods do to me and even more, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.’” Jezebel was saying, “Elijah, in twenty-four hours, you’re a dead man. I’m coming after you.” What did Elijah do when he got that message? “He was afraid and arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there” (v. 3). Just a few hours earlier, Elijah had seen a marvelous display of God’s power, but now he was fearful because of one irate woman. What had changed? I’ll tell you what changed: his focus. He had developed a case of spiritual nearsightedness. Whenever we change our focus from God to our circumstances, the result is always going to be fear, discouragement, and depression.

We all do this, don’t we? Sometimes I’ll ask people, “How are you doing?” And they will say, “I am doing pretty good under the circumstances.” And my first thought is, “Under the circumstances? What are you doing there? That’s no place for a Christian to be living.” But a lot of Christians spend their lives hanging out under their circumstances. They are smothering under the weight of a prodigal child, a physical illness, or mounting financial debt. Now, I am not suggesting we should deny our circumstances–that would be unrealistic. What I am saying is those who want to live an extraordinary life don’t focus on their circumstances.

There are two realities in your life. One reality is the challenging circumstance you are facing in your marriage, with your children, with your health, with your finances. You can’t deny that, but there is another reality that’s running parallel to it, and that is God is on His throne. He is in control of every circumstance that is happening in your life. And the biggest choice you have to make is, what are you going to focus on: your circumstances, or your God who is in control of your circumstances? The key to navigating bad days is to become a bifocal Christian. You do not negate or deny your circumstances, but as you deal with your circumstances you have your focus on your God as well. Remember the promise of Isaiah 26:3: “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You.”

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Secret #6: Learn How to Handle Bad Days” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2017.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.