Summary: How to Have the Serenity To Accept the Things You cannot Change, the Courage to Change the Things You Can and the Wisdom to Know the Difference - Phil. 4:6-9
How to Have the courage to change the things you can , the serenity to accept the things you cannot change and the wisdom to know the difference. Phil. 4:6-8
Illustration:I had no shoes and complained until I met a man who had no feet.
Although it may be hard to admit, there are many things that we cannot change. No matter how hard you try some people resist change; some organizations refuse to admit problems and some leaders refuse to listen to advice. Instead, of consistently beating one’s proverbial head up against a wall, Christians have a better option. Paul wrote, "Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God’s peace shall be yours." (Phil. 4:6,7) The following are few guiding principles for appropriating that powerful promise.
1. Remember your primary responsibility is to obey God’s will. Jeremiah wrote, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jer. 29:11) Ask the Lord for the wisdom, grace and calm to learn, accept and obey His primary will for your life. Do not try to run ahead of the Lord’s plans for your life.
Illustration:Peter T. Forsythe was right when he said, "The first duty of every soul is to find not its freedom but its Master".
Warren W. Wiersbe, The Integrity Crisis, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1991, p. 22.
2. Remember Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus accomplished 100% of the will of God even though He did not heal everyone. Jesus did not even spend time trying to change the political climate of Roman oppressors. Instead, Jesus said, "The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade." (Mark 4;31,32) Look at life through the eyes of Jesus and see what can become through your efforts.
3. Remember the promises of God. Paul writes, "For no matter how many promises of God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ." (2 Cor. 1:20,21) Take an inventory of all the precious promises you have in Christ and confidently know that He will fulfill everyone.
4. Remember God’s priorities. There are many good things we can do, but ask the Lord for wisdom in being able to contribute to His priority ministries. There are many activities that are not essential. However, God’s priorities include worship, evangelism, disciple making and planting and growing churches. When you are seeking first His interests, other problems seem to take care of themselves. The Lord is eager to fight your battles for you.
5. Remember God’s training program for your life. The Lord allows many things to come into your life for purposes that are greater than our minds can comprehend. Isaiah wrote, "His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts higher than our thoughts." (Isa. 55:8,9) Remain open, teachable and flexible to allow the Lord to mold your character after the image of Christ. He is the potter and we are the clay. The clay has no right to say to the Potter, "Why did you make me like this?" (Romans 9:21)
6. Remember Godly men and women who have endured much worse. The writer of Hebrews eleven recalls, "Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated- the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect." (Hebrews 11:36-40) Not all heroes of the faith experienced immediate gratification. Some fell victims to their circumstances in the will of God. Yet, all of them were blessed of God.
7. Remember God’s grace is sufficient for any problem. Paul writes, "Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take the thorn in the flesh away from me. But he said to me, ’My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me." (2 Cor. 12:9,10) When we let the grace of God be our sufficiency, we will enjoy sweet rest of mind, body, and in our emotions!