Thursday, July 7, 2016

Learning to Make Adjustments

     There is nothing more certain in life than change, and most of us do not like change.  So from my perspective of life and experience, I can honestly say that we have to learn to adjust.  We have to adjust our expectations when some of our dreams do not come to pass.  We have to adjust to new circumstances that come with marriage, a baby, loss of a job, injury or sickness.  The list can go on and on.  The sooner we can learn to adapt to our ever changing life here on earth - the better off we will be when it comes to finding contentment.  Let me suggest that it is far easier to make adjustments when we are relying on the Holy Spirit than when we try to do it in our own strength.
     Of all the inspired writers of the Bible, the Apostle Paul is definitely someone who had to adjust to change in his life.  In his letter to the Philippians (4:11-13), he expounds on the secret to his contentment in this life:  "11Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."  His ability to find peace in the midst of trials rested in his faith.  He knew that Christ gave him the peace to carry on.  Isn't this what we want in life?
     To give us some perspective, we must look at what Paul tells us about his life.  We know he is a citizen of Rome and well trained in Judaism.  However, after he met the Lord, his life really required learning how to adjust to a new way of living that brought challenges with it.  2 Corinthians 11:24-27 puts it this way:  "24Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. 25Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. 26I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; 27I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure."  I cannot even begin to imagine going through all that Paul experienced; yet in it all, Christ strengthened him in faith.
     Perhaps the greatest key to learning how to adjust and adapt to the twists and turns in life is found in the same letter to the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 5:7):  "For we live by faith, not by sight."  When we spend our time looking at circumstances, it can be depressing.  However, fixing our eyes of faith on our Lord and His kingdom to come will keep us on the path to contentment no matter what transpires.  In order to do this, we must be students of God's Word and a person of prayer.  The Bible cleanses our mind so that we can think God's thoughts after Him, and sincere prayer gives us a chance to lay down our burdens and be refreshed by our Lord.  This is where we find solace, comfort and wisdom in a fallen world.
     We cannot change anything by wishing it away.  However, we can rely on the Holy Spirit within us and learn to adjust to whatever we face today.  God always shows us the way and gives us wisdom if we just ask Him for it.  Our goal in life is to live a contented life no matter what circumstances we are in so that we might glorify the Lord.  Like the Apostle Paul we must learn to live by faith and not by sight!  Selah!

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